Exactly how far does our hatred for Roman Polanski go? I know it extends to Natalie Portman, who has been on the receiving end of many an ire-filled Pajiba comment since she signed that “Free Roman Polanski” petition. Woody Allen and Whoopi Goldberg (who said that Polanski didn’t “rape-rape” a thirteen year old girl, whatever that means) have made comments defending the infamous director, but let’s be honest, it’s easy to dislike these people for other reasons too. Portman with her snotty attitude and her outspoken veganism, Woody’s pretty much a whole other kind of semi-incestuous molester and Whoopi’s a Godtopus-damned liberal. But Martin Scorsese signed that petition, as did Darren Aronofsky, David, Lynch, Jonathan Demme, Wes Anderson, Terry Gilliam, Monica Bellucci and Sam Mendes. I haven’t read much hate directed at them.
I know we all despise the crime Polanski committed and we can’t forgive him running from the justice system he’s claimed is so corrupt; would we have “forgiven” him had he served whatever jail time he might have been sentenced? Would we still be discussing his crime had the originally agreed upon deal been upheld, with Polanski serving no jail time? And as some of our favorite actors continue to make films with the director, will our hate continue to extend, even to them? I don’t have the answers, but I do find the hate indiscriminate. If we hate Natalie Portman, shouldn’t we also hate Kate Winslet?
Kate is among the four lead actors who have just wrapped filming Polanski’s Carnage. In this adaptation of the Tony winning play, God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, Winslet stars as wife Nancy to Christoph Waltz’s Alan, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly play another couple, Penelope and Michael. The story centers around the two sets of parents who get together after their sons have a playground fight. What starts out as a civilized adult discussion, quickly devolves into a verbal and physical brawl. The acclaimed play is getting ready for an April run at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre with the original Broadway cast of James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeff Daniels and Hope Davis—Gandolfini was the only actor invited to Polanski’s film, but he declined (unclear reasons). There is little doubt that the combination of the great source material (adapted by Reza and Polanski), the director himself and these four lead actors, that Carnage practically has Academy Award nominations written in advance.
We’ve had the discussions about separating the man and his work ad nauseum, but what about those of you who cannot or will not see anything Polanski makes? To what extent does your condemnation of Polanski and those in his circle (actors and actresses who work with him, directors who defend him) reach? (Personally, I’d love to hear Winslet’s views on this—she’s a mother of a young daughter.)
Whatever our opinion, clearly the man is still held in high esteem as a director and in warmth by those who work with him: