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Roman Polanski, Child Rapist, Editing New Movie Under House Arrest, Says Friend

(AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
(AP Photo )
(CBS)
(AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)
GENEVA (CBS/AP) Roman Polanski, the 76-year-old director and child rapist, is holed up in his swank million-dollar Alpine chalet finishing the edit of his latest movie "Ghost," a friend said Sunday.

Photo: Roman Polanski seen leaving court on Oct. 25, 1977.

PICTURES: Polanski, A Life in Pictures

During his house arrest in Switzerland, Polanski is surrounded by family and bombarded by telephone calls of support, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy said in an interview this weekend.

Photo: The Swiss chalet of Franco-Polish Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski in Gstaad.

PICTURES: Polanski, A Life in Pictures

Levy, a friend of the Oscar-winning director, told the Lausanne-based weekly Le Matin Dimanche that he visited Polanski in his chalet in the luxury Swiss resort of Gstaad about 10 days ago and found him like "a rock," working and confident, even though his family is worried about the U.S. extradition request hanging over him.

The filmmaker fled the country after being prosecuted in California for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977 and has never returned.

Photo: Samantha Geimer, Polanski's underage victim, who outed herself.

PICTURES: Polanski, A Life in Pictures

"It's in fact very impressive. He is in the process of finishing at a distance the editing of his next film, which I understand will be in the official selection at the next Berlin Festival," Levy said.

He said he was able to have a friendly dinner with Polanski in the chalet. Being able to entertain at home was one of the privileges the director received after his Dec. 4 transfer to house arrest from a Swiss jail after more than 60 days of detention.

Photo: Roman Polanski.

PICTURES: Polanski, A Life in Pictures

Polanski has to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet around his ankle to guard against his leaving the grounds of the chalet, but he is able to receive guests inside or outside the house, work on his films, make telephone calls and send e-mails as much as he likes.

"The telephone doesn't stop ringing, the messages of support are pouring in, especially from his Swiss friends," Levy said.

He said Polanski told him Swiss officials were only doing their job in arresting him Sept. 26 and holding him in detention, but that all of them had treated him with kindness and appeared "extraordinarily embarrassed" by what he was going through.

Swiss authorities have said they will decide early next year whether to extradite Polanski to the U.S. where he is wanted in Los Angeles for sentencing.

If Polanski breaks the conditions of his house arrest, the Swiss government would confiscate the $4.5 million bail he deposited. That substantial amount was a key element in granting the house arrest — a first in Switzerland for a detainee in an extradition case.

Polanski's two children, Elvis, 9, and Morgane, 16 — and his wife, French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, have been staying in the chalet with him.

The Oscar-winning director of "Rosemary's Baby," "Chinatown" and "The Pianist" was arrested as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award at a film festival.

Polanski was initially accused of raping the girl after plying her with champagne and a Quaalude pill during a 1977 modeling shoot. He was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molestation and sodomy, but he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse.

In exchange, the judge agreed to drop the remaining charges and sent him to prison for a 90-day psychiatric evaluation. The evaluator released Polanski after 42 days, but the judge said he was going to send him back to serve out the 90 days.

The filmmaker fled the U.S. on Feb. 1, 1978, the day he was to be formally sentenced. He has lived since then in France, which does not extradite its citizens.

Polanski has been getting help from his victim in the California case in a bid to have sex misconduct charges against him dismissed. The attorney for Samantha Geimer, who long ago publicly identified herself, argued earlier this month for an end to the case, saying she has repeatedly said she wants it dropped.

The California Second District Court of Appeal is being asked to decide if it should order a lower court to consider dismissing the case without Polanski's attendance in court.

Polanski claims that the U.S. judge and prosecutors acted improperly in his case.

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PICTURES: Polanski, A Life in Pictures

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  • Ryan Smith

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