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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 September, 2003, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
Polanski to film Dickens classic
Roman Polanski
Polanski said his children influenced his decision to make the film
Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski is to film Oliver Twist, the latest in a long line of screen versions of Dickens' classic novel.

Polanski, speaking at the Deauville film festival in France, said shooting would take place next summer with British actors.

Ronald Harwood, who won an Oscar for The Pianist, will write the script for the movie.

"Young people today don't know it, and the meeting of the worlds of Dickens and Polanski will be interesting," said producer Robert Benmussa.

Orphan pickpocket

Polanski, 70, best-known for films such as Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby, said he was persuaded to make a version of the book by his five-year-old and 10-year-old children.

Oliver Twist is widely regarded as one of Charles Dickens' classic tales. It tells the story of an orphan boy who runs away from a workhouse, joining a group of pickpockets led by the scheming Fagin.

Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes in Oliver!
Oliver Reed starred as scoundrel Bill Sykes in 1968's Oliver!

Among the dozen screen translations include the 1948 version starring Sir Alec Guinness as Fagin, and a 1968 musical version, Oliver!, which featured Harry Secombe, Oliver Reed and Mark Lester.

Polanski was unable to accept his best director award at this year's Oscars ceremony because of an outstanding warrant for his arrest stemming from a charge of sex with an 13-year-old girl in the 1970s.

Polanski's friend, Indiana Jones actor Harrison Ford, accepted his Oscar for him in February and presented it to him at Deauville at the weekend.

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