A Roman Polanski adaptation of Oliver Twist may sound odd, but the film's producer Robert Benmussa insists 'a family film' like this 'will really suit him'.
News emerged this week that Polanski is teaming up again with the makers of The Pianist for an adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic.
Oscar winning Polanski and producing team Alain Sarde and Robert Benmussa are putting together a script, casting and financing for the big budget period piece which should shoot next summer.
Ronald Harwood, who also won an Oscar for his writing duties on The Pianist is currently adapting the script.
Benmussa told ScreenDaily.com that along with Polanski and Sarde "we have been looking for a new subject for a year and Roman really wanted to do a family film as it's a universe that really suits him. Dickens speaks to him very much and we believe that the genius of Roman will really bring something special to the film."
Twist has been adapted myriad times for various media but the last dramatic feature adaptation goes back to 1948 when David Lean shot the film.
Benmussa said, "The youth of today doesn't know this story, not even people in their fifties may know it and we believe that if there's one person who can live up to the challenge it's Roman."
Benmussa said the budget is still being worked out but that it will certainly be a considerable sum. The film will be a "typically European" film with international aspirations as with The Pianist.
No partners are as yet on board but Benmussa noted that he and Sarde would give a priority to Focus Features who released The Pianist in the US, and who would be considered a privileged partner given the "formidable work" they did on The Pianist.
As for cast, Benmussa said a search for the boy to play Oliver will be carried out worldwide but that the likely candidate will be British as will the rest of the cast.