Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Friday, 2 February 2007

Polanski to direct Pompeii film

Roman Polanski
Polanski won an Oscar in 2002

Legendary film-maker Roman Polanski is to direct Pompeii, a film adaptation of Robert Harris's best-selling novel of the same name.

The book tells the story of a young engineer who has to repair the Roman Empire's greatest aqueduct following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79.

Filming of the $130m (£66m) movie will begin in Italy this summer.

"I got seduced by the writing... I liked that it was a thriller, " Polanski told trade magazine Variety.

Harris, who is writing the script, said he had been influenced by Polanski while writing his number one bestseller.

'Strong influence'

"Roman Polanski's Chinatown was a strong influence on me when I was writing Pompeii, so I was delighted when he rang me early in the new year and said he wanted to turn it into a movie.

"I can't think of a better director to bring the book to life, both visually, and in terms of its plot," he said.

Polanski said the big-budget film would be "very dependent on visual effects".

The Paris-born director's films include Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist, for which he won a best director Oscar in 2002.

Last year, he received a lifetime achievement award from the European Film Academy.

But he gained notoriety in 1977 when he jumped bail in the US and fled to Europe after being charged with unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson's house.

Polanski has been unable to return to the US since then.

Police said they would arrest the director if he turned up to collect his Oscar five years ago.

Lifetime award for Roman Polanski
12 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
Roman Polanski: Film's dark prince
12 Jul 10 |  Entertainment
Director Polanski wins libel case
22 Jul 05 |  Entertainment

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific