“I’m not too shy to go and talk to the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and to ask him once and for all to look at [Roman Polanski‘s situation],” said Harvey Weinstein in an article posted today in the Independent.
“The problem [has] to do with the legal situation in the state. They are doing this because they want a circus, to make their toughness overt — and that is where I draw the line. This is the government of the United States not giving its word and recanting on a deal, and it is the government acting irresponsibly and criminally.
“It is a shocking way to treat such a man. Polanski went through the Holocaust and the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate, by the Manson family. How do you go from the Holocaust to the Manson family with any sort of dignity? In those circumstances, most people could not contribute to art and make the kind of beautiful movies he continues to make.
“When Martin Scorsese was up to win best director for Gangs of New York, we faced Polanski and The Pianist. We were campaigning hard for Marty because he had never won best director, but when Marty lost to Roman, he turned to me and said: “I’m so happy right now. Of all the people in the world that I’d want to lose to, it’s Roman.
“‘You have to understand that Polanski’s films have influenced me as an artist all these years and his terrible political situation has been something we have all had to suffer through,’ he said. ‘We won because Roman won.”
“I think the reason we can all be on Polanski’s side over this is not to do with what happened in 1977. It’s to do with the fact that the punishment for what happened so many years ago had already been decided.
“The deal was that if he spent time in prison, which he did pre-sentencing, his sentence would be commuted but when he came back to sentencing the judge went back on the deal. Forget about the Seventies era and whether this is excusable – this is a miscarriage of justice, and the government is making him a scapegoat.”