Director Roman Polanski has been taken into custody by Swiss police on a 31-year-old US arrest warrant for statutory rape, organizers of the Zurich Film Festival said today. The 76-year-old director of Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby, slated to receive an award for his lifetime of work, had recently sought dismissal on grounds of misconduct by the now-deceased judge who had arranged a plea bargain and then reneged on it.
Polanski fled the US in 1978, a year after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. Polanski has lived for the past three decades in France, where his career has continued to flourish. He received a directing Oscar in absentia for 2002's The Pianist. Festival organizers said Polanski's detention had caused "shock and dismay," but that they would go ahead with today's planned retrospective of his work.