EXCLUSIVE: Monty Python star John Cleese and Gomorrah Actor Fortunato Cerlino has been confirmed to us as one of the supporting cast for Roman Polanski’s new film The palacewhich is in production in Switzerland.
German actress Oliver Masucci and French actress Fanny Ardant star in the film, which Wild Bunch handles for sale. Mickey Rourke also plays.
The drama, which takes place on New Year’s Eve 1999 at a luxury hotel, sees the lives of hotel workers and various guests intertwined. The script comes from Polanski and Polish veteran Jerzy Skolimowsk, while the crew includes Polanski’s permanent film photographer Pawel Edelman.
The project was first announced last year by the Italian television company Rai as part of their board. Italian actor-producer Luca Barbareschi is the lead producer through his Eliseo Entertainment company. CAB Productions is the Swiss co-producer with the Polish clothes Lucky Bob on board.
Polanski, director of films incl Pianists, Chinatown and Rosemary’s baby, remains a lightning rod for controversy in the industry and beyond due to his arrest and charge in 1977 in the United States for stabbing and raping a 13-year-old girl. Polanski pleaded guilty to the minor charge of illegal sex with a minor. When he was told that the American judge was planning to reject his appeal agreement and impose a prison sentence instead of probation, he fled to Paris. As a result, Polanski is a refugee from America.
Last month, a group of Swiss technicians, actors and filmmakers – who wrote in the Swiss publication Le Temps – condemned the new production for giving the filmmaker a platform.
Despite his conviction and 2018 expulsion from the Academy of America, the Oscar winner continues to work in Europe and reap awards. His latest film An officer and a spy won three César awards in France and four awards at the Venice Film Festival in 2020. However, several members of France’s César Academy withdrew after an outcry over the film’s 12 nominations. The big-budget drama garnered wide distribution in Europe and backing from several European companies, but no British or American distributor would pick up the film.
Oscar-nominated Cleese is best known for her work in the comedy troupe Monty Python, classic British TV series Fawlty Towers and films such as A fish called Wanda. Italian veteran Cerlino is best known for portraying mafia boss Pietro Savastano in a success series Gomorrah.