Director Roman Polanski is no stranger to scandals, so it should come as no surprise that his next project will cover a real-life event that was very scandalous. The subject matter in question is the infamous Dreyfus affair, which doesn’t have anything to do with Richard Dreyfus’ married life, but instead involves a Jewish Captain of the French army named Alfred Dreyfus.
You see, back in 1894 Dreyfus faced court martial because of accusations that he had been passing secrets to the Germans. After being found guilty, he was sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island – but that’s not where his story stops. It continues when the head of French counter-intelligence, Colonel Georges Picquart, realizes that the real traitor is still at large and attempts to prove as much. His efforts lead to clashes with superior officers, framings for crimes he didn’t commit, and, eventually, his own imprisonment. Strange things were afoot at the Circle K. Eventually Dreyfus was cleared of all charges and released, but not until he had endured 12 years of investigations, media attention, and imprisonment.
“I have long wanted to make a film about the Dreyfus affair, treating it not as a costume drama but as a spy story,” Polanski explains. “In this way one can show its absolute relevance to what is happening in today’s world – the age-old spectacle of the witch-hunt of a minority group, security paranoia, secret military tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, governmental cover-ups, and a rabid press.”
The title of the director’s upcoming look at the whole bloody affair is simply D, and it comes from a screenplay by Robert Harris, who Polanski also collaborated with on The Ghost Writer. Casting is set to begin soon and shooting is tentatively scheduled for sometime around the end of the year. [Deadline Los Feliz]