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Film director Roman Polanski
"This is a type of picture that requires a rather realistic and authentic approach"
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Tuesday, 19 September, 2000, 09:24 GMT 10:24 UK
Polanski advertises for film hopeful
Roman Polanski
Polanski: Obsessed with story of man who escaped Nazi death camps
Celebrated film director Roman Polanski has advertised in a newspaper for a "sensitive, vulnerable and charismatic" man to star in his new movie, and no acting experience is necessary.

In the past, the film-maker's lead actors have included Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson and Johnny Depp, but this time he is looking for a complete unknown and will hold open auditions later this month in London.

Harrison Ford in Frantic
Harrison Ford is a more typical male lead in a Polanski movie
Polanski placed the ad in The Guardian newspaper, searching for the lead for his new movie, The Pianist.

The film, with a reported budget of 25m, will be shot in Warsaw next year.

The advert specifies that movie star hopefuls should be men aged 25 to 35-years-old, with a "slight build and dark colouring".

"Acting experience not essential but he needs to be sensitive, vulnerable and charismatic," says the ad.

The audition is for the part of Polish composer Wladyslaw Szpilman, who escaped death in a Nazi concentration camp.

Rosemary's Baby
The chiller, Rosemary's Baby, projected Polanski to worldwide fame
In his autobiography, Szpilman details how he was saved by a German officer who was impressed by his musical talents.

Polanski's mother died in Auschwitz and he narrowly escaped being sent to a concentration camp only when his father pushed him through a hole in a barbed wire fence.

He is known as an auteur film-maker and established himself as a master of macabre horror with Rosemary's Baby, starring Mia Farrow, in 1968.

He has suffered continued tragedy in his life - his wife, the actress Sharon Tate, was murdered by notorious killer Charles Manson.

Alex Johnson, of casting agent Celestia Fox, told The Guardian that Polanski had definite ideas of what sort of person should play Szpilman because the story "was so close to Polanski's own experience".

She said: "He feels there is someone out there, not necessarily an actor, who embodies what he feels about Szpilman."

"Obviously the ability to play the piano would help, but he is looking at this in a very broad way," she added.

The audition will be held on Saturday 30 September at The Actors Centre in Covent Garden, central London.

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16 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Polanski joins French elite
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