Brosnan asks "why now?" of Polanski's arrest

Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:29am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - Pierce Brosnan said he was shocked when he heard of Roman Polanski's arrest, but was always confident the director would get his movie "The Ghost Writer" to the big screen despite being in jail and under house arrest.

The actor, who plays a disgraced former prime minister heavily based on Tony Blair in the political thriller, also questioned why the U.S. authorities were pursuing Polanski for a crime he committed more than 30 years ago.

"A friend of mine from here in Berlin texted me a message," Brosnan told reporters at the Berlin film festival, where The Ghost Writer has its world premiere on Friday. Polanski, under house arrest in his Swiss chalet, was unable to attend.

"I was shocked. I was very disappointed and saddened by his arrest," he added following a press screening where the movie, also starring Ewan McGregor, was applauded.

"I wondered why now, after such a long time?" Brosnan continued. "I was very upset for his family, for his children ... I had every faith that the film was going to be, for some reason, made and shown."

Oscar-winning Polanski, who was arrested in Switzerland in September, pleaded guilty in Los Angeles in 1977 to having unlawful sex with 13-year-old Samantha Gailey (now Geimer), at the Los Angeles home of actor Jack Nicholson.

But fearing the judge might sentence him to years in prison, Polanski skipped bail in 1978 and fled to France before his sentence was pronounced. The maker of "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown" is now fighting extradition to the United States.

PLAYING TONY BLAIR?   Continued...

<p>Actor Pierce Brosnan signs autographs as he arrives for a photocall to promote the movie "The Ghost Writer" at the Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 12, 2010. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch</p>