Roman Polanski's New Film Makes Debut in Berlin Film Festival

Roman Polanski's new film "The Ghost Writer" premieres Friday at the 60th Berlin Film Festival but the director, under house arrest in Switzerland, will be at the red-carpet gala in spirit only.

"The Ghost Writer," based on a novel by Robert Harris, stars Pierce Brosnan as a former British prime minister and Ewan McGregor as a ghost writer hired to complete his memoirs on an island off the U.S. east coast.

Producer Robert Benmussa said Friday the film was nearly complete by the time Polanski was arrested last September. He said Polanski continued to work on the movie in jail and then at his Swiss chalet, where he remains under house arrest, The Associated Press reports.

Polanksi, whose life off-screen has been almost as turbulent as some of the images he's created on-screen, is electronically tethered to a Swiss chalet, awaiting possible extradition to the U.S. on 32-year-old rape charges. But, according to a report at indieWIRE, Polanski's presence hovered over the screening and press conference that followed the Friday morning viewing.

"I must say, it feels weird for us to be here without Roman Polanski at the center of this table," one producer said and, according to indieWIRE, "one by one, the actors and even gushing journalists asking questions, lamented his detention and inability to attend" the debut, Moviefone reports.

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