Roman Polanski pulls out of Pompeii

There are so many jokes we could make around Roman Polanski doing a runner, but frankly at least seven of them are in bad taste and the others aren’t funny.

So instead, we’ll just report with a straight face that Polanski has dropped out of directing the $100 million plus epic Pompeii, which has led to the project being shoved into indefinite limbo. The reason? Polanski was worried about the looming actors’ strike, which he worried would limit his access to prime talent and might have delayed shooting on the film, which due to its subject required a summer production schedule.

So, worried about possible chaos, the director asked to be let out of his contract. “Polanski has asked for his liberty, and we've given it to him,” producer Robert Benmussa gassed to Variety.

He added that he’s got little hope of the helmer returning to the folding chair despite working non-stop on it for 18 months. "The weather is an actor in this film, because the catastrophe happened Aug. 26, during the sweltering heat of summer, when water supplies had run out. It is a part of the story," Benmussa told the trade mag. There’s no word yet on whether the producers will try to set the film up again. "I don't know what we are going to do yet," Benmussa continues "If Polanski is no longer directing, we'll have to completely remount the project. Distributors will also have their liberty to pull out of the film. We still have the book rights, we still have a scenario and a very strong subject that people all over the world are interested in. This is a temporary problem that we have to resolve."

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.