Patrick Wachsberger’s long-standing relationship with Roman Polanski has added the filmmaker’s upcoming Dreyfus Affair political thriller to the recently merged company’s war chest.

Polanski will direct from a screenplay by Robert Harris, with whom he collaborated on The Ghost Writer. Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde will produce as usual.

D will chronicle the world-famous scandal of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a nineteenth century Jewish officer in the French Army who was wrongly imprisoned for allegedly passing secrets to the Germans.

When the head of French counter-intelligence realised the traitor was still at large he clashed with his superiors as he attempted to uncover the culprit. Dreyfus was eventually released after serving 12 years on the notorious Devil’s Island.

Casting will get underway shortly and the producers have earmarked a Paris shoot by the end of the year. ICM will represent North American rights.

“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 said. “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.”

Prior to the merger with Lionsgate, co-chairman of the motion picture group Wachsberger handled international sales on Polanski’s The Ghost Writer and Oliver Twist while at Summit.

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