Roman Polanski introducedthe press to the lead actor for his upcoming adaptation of Charles Dickens' OliverTwist in Paris yesterday. After a search that included drama schoolsthroughout England, ten year-old Barney Clark will play Twist alongside Ben Kingsleyas Fagin.
The virtually unknown youngman's previous experience includes two television roles in the UK. The normallypress shy Polanski proudly showed him off during an hour long discussion thatranged from details about the project to his elated reaction to Poland'sentrance into the European Union.
As previously reported, Twistis a co-production between France, Italy, the Czech Republic and the UK. Whilethe budget is still being worked out, current figures place it at around Euros45m.
For the film, which starts afour month Prague-based shoot on July 12, Polanski is re-teaming with his usualcolleagues including producers Alain Sarde and Robert Benmussa and writerRonald Harwood who worked with him on The Pianist.
The entire cast of the filmis made up of English actors owing to Polanski's wish that the film be asauthentic as possible. Other cast members include Jamie Foreman as Bill Sykesand Frank Finlay as Brownlow. Finlay also had a role in The Pianist.
Oliver Twist will be distributed by Pathe in the UK and France,Tobis in Germany, Medusa in Italy and Tobisha in Japan. The film is pre-sold inall territories except the US where Benmussa noted a deal with a major iscurrently in negotiations