How exactly is Roman Polanski‘s The Ghost, a political thriller costarring Pierce Brosnan and Ewan MaGregor, considered to be in limbo now that Polanski is temporarily in a Swiss slammer?

Pierce Brosnan, Ewan MacGregor in Roman Polanski’s The Ghost

We’re in a down market for smallish character- or plot-driven adult films (and especially ones starring Brosnan and MacGregor), but since Saturday’s arrest this film is in great shapehello? Supermarket moms will want to see this now so they can hiss Polanski’s name when it appears on the credits. And with any luck rural retards will be out protesting it with placards when it comes to their plex…”we don’t want this film shown in our God-fearing Christian community!,” etc. Before Saturday The Ghost was looking like an in-and-outer and maybe even a straight-to-DVD title, but now it’s got a fighting chance to actually make some money.

And getting it ready for release will be a snap, even if Polanski gets serious American jail time, which he won’t.

Several weeks’ worth of extra editing, music scoring and sound mixing may be required before it’s ready to play commercially, but Polanski will have some measure of limited freedom once he arrives on U.S. soil. One way or the other he’ll be able to do the work soon enough, even if he gives orders from a jail cell about which music clip to use and where exactly to cut, etc. 2009 technology will find a way.

Brosnan plays a former British prime minister and McGregor a ghostwriter hired to help complete his memoirs in this adaptation of the novel by Robert Harris. Pic also features Kim Cattrall, Tom Wilkinson, Olivia Williams and James Belushi.

And incidentally…

The people who requested the Swiss to detain Polanski — the U.S. Marshals Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force (representing the Los Angeles D.A.’s office) plus U.S. State and Justice department officials — are, according to this 9.29 story, so caught up in their bureaucratic rigamarole that “the expected U.S. extradition request” regarding the delivery of Polanski to U.S. soil “has not yet been received by the Swiss.”

This is the slow-as-molasses American legal system. Anyone who’s ever gotten a ticket from a Highway Patrolman and then waited at least 20 minutes as he sits in his car and slowly fills out the ticket with the squawking radio going the whole time knows the truth of this.

Can you imagine being the guy in charge of flying Polanski back to the U.S. and asking a subordinate, “So the Swiss have our formal extradition request…right?” And being told, “Well, they’ll have it before too long.” And you saying, “Whaddaya mean, it’s not ready? You guys have known we’d be arresting him in Zurich for the last two or three weeks…what have you been doing?” And the subordinate saying, “Well, we were just told there’s this extra form that Justice needs, and it requires eight separate signatures and two of them are out sick.”