This photograph of Samantha Geimer, which appears on the front cover of… (With permission of Samantha…)
Samantha Geimer, the woman Roman Polanski was convicted of having sex with when she was 13, has released a provocative cover for her new memoir, “The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski.”
The image is a photograph that the “Chinatown” director took of Geimer in 1977, three weeks before the notorious night that changed both of their lives.
In the photo, Geimer, then an aspiring model named Samantha Gailey, still has the chubby cheeks of a girl on the cusp of adolescence, a gold heart dangling from a chain on her neck and a far-away look in her eyes.
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Polanski took the photo at Geimer's home in Woodland Hills before coaxing her to pose topless.
Three weeks later, at another photo shoot at Jack Nicholson's home, the director gave Geimer a piece of a quaalude and some champagne, and raped her, according to court records.
Geimer, now 50, obtained the photo in a 1988 civil suit against Polanski, which resulted in the director agreeing to pay her $500,000 and surrender all the pictures he had taken of her. In a portion of the afterword to Geimer's memoir provided by her publisher, Atria Books, Geimer's lawyer, Lawrence Silver, shares some of the back story of the photo.
“In executing the search warrant, the police didn't recognize the importance of a receipt/claim check from Sav-On Drugs' photograph department,” Silver writes. “Years later, I was told that Polanski gave his lawyer the receipt, and they secured the printed roll of film and negatives from the drug store. During the civil suit, his lawyer had to turn those photos over to me. These photographs, important both legally and historically, would likely have never been discovered if not for the civil suit.”
Now 79 and living in France, Polanski has never returned to the U.S. to face sentencing in Geimer's case.
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In the last decade, the 35-year-old case has continually resurfaced.
In 2003, when Polanski was nominated for an Academy Award for directing “The Pianist,” Geimer wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, asking that Oscar voters “judge the movie, not the man.” In 2008, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” a documentary largely sympathetic to the director, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2009, Swiss police arrested Polanski at the request of U.S. authorities, jailing him and placing him under house arrest. At the time, Geimer asked an appellate court to drop the charge against the film director, saying the publicity has disrupted her life.
Now Geimer will attempt to tell her side of the story, according to a description of the book released by her publisher, Atria Books.
“Samantha, as much as Polanski, has been a fugitive since the events of that night more than thirty years ago,” the description reads. “By telling her story in full for the first time, Samantha reclaims her identity, and indelibly proves that it is possible to move forward from victim to survivor, from confusion to certainty, from shame to strength.”
Polanski's latest movie, a French-language adaptation of the Broadway play “Venus in Fur,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, will be distributed in the U.S. by Sundance Selects.