Roman Polanski’s wife has issues with ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

I expected some of the real-life people depicted in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to be upset, I just didn’t think those people would be… Roman Polanski? There’s a mountain of background on this, so let’s dig in. In 1969, Roman Polanski was one of the hottest directors in Hollywood, having just done the massively successful Rosemary’s Baby. He was still a few years away from doing Chinatown, a film which is (arguably) considered his masterpiece. In that year, Polanski and his young wife Sharon Tate were expecting a baby. That’s when members of Charles Manson’s Family murdered Tate and several other people in a horrific series of murders which rocked the country. Years later, Polanski drugged and raped a child, Samantha Geimer, and he ended up fleeing America when the prosecutor at the time didn’t accept Polanski’s plea.

Polanski has been living in Europe ever since. He’s married again, to French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, and they spend much of their time in France and Switzerland. Polanski still makes movies, still has a rich life, still spends time with friends and family. If Quentin Tarantino wanted to meet with Polanski, all QT would have needed to do is call him, one would think. Apparently Tarantino didn’t speak to Polanski before QT made him a character in OUATIH though, nor did Tarantino seek any kind of blessing from Polanski to use this part of Polanski’s life. And now Seigner is speaking out about the situation, writing on social media (she wrote in French, and THR translated it):

“How can you take advantage of someone’s tragic life while trampling on them? Something to think about (I’m talking about the system that tramples Roman). A little explanation because I understand that people don’t understand my point-of-view. I am not criticizing the film. I am just saying that it doesn’t bother them [in Hollywood] to make a film about Roman and his tragic story, and make money with it… while at the same time they have made him a pariah. And all without consulting him of course. “Let’s judge the film as a good one, but the idea is this is bothersome.”

[Via THR]

I mean… it was always going to be problematic, right? If Tarantino had spoken to Polanski and gotten his blessing, people would be mad about that too. That being said, maybe the answer was “don’t fictionalize this terrible and violent tragedy and use Sharon Tate as an unspeaking prop for the male gaze”? I don’t know, just an idea. As I said, it was always going to be problematic and this is likely the tip of the iceberg.

Once upon a time in Hollywood photo call

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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33 Responses to “Roman Polanski’s wife has issues with ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’”

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  1. Aims says:

    I find it problematic that Roman raped a child, then left the country and has never paid for his crimes. Those are the facts and that’s problematic for me.

    • Usedtobe says:

      Well said!

    • Lilly says:

      And I really find it problematic that all these people (Whoopi G. Angelica Houston) are like “Be cool. Don’t be all uncool” about holding him accountable for it.

  2. Mia4s says:

    “Roman Polanski’s wife has issues….”

    I think we could stop right there to be honest. 😬

    As you say, this was always going to be a mess. So I’ll just add for the 100th time since it keeps slipping under the radar: Tarantino cast Emile Hirsch in this movie (about a brutally murdered pregnant woman) after he violently attacked a random woman in a club and tried to choke her to death. That is and always will be my biggest issue with this movie, not the “artistic choices”.

  3. Jb says:

    So this woman married a pedo rapist and we’re supposed to care about her and the pedos feelings?? F* right off you enabler and rape apologist…

  4. Chef Grace says:

    QT himself is a pile of maggot shit.

    • Some chick says:

      Cosign! Tarantino is gross. I have a hard time understanding why he is so revered. I think it’s all horrorpr0n and he gets off on the violence and human misery.

      What’s he going to do to top this? “9/11 – From the Inside Out”? “Bombed: The Ariana Grande Manchester Story”? Anyone do something on the gory Escobar story? Oh, I know! How about a movie about the Ghost Ship fire! Ugh, he is sooo disgusting.

      Also, copping the title of a classic Sergio Leone movie for this mess is not cool.

  5. kerwood says:

    The ‘Hollywood system’ helped Roman Polanski escape statutory rape charges and go on to live a great life in Europe. That system also gave him a standing ovation after it gave him an Academy Award for his amazingly over-rated film ‘The Pianist’.

    Roman Polanski has used the tragedies in his past to get away with a lot of shit, so his wife is going to have to suck it up if others are following in his footsteps.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      kerwood, Well said!

    • Original T.C. says:


      Pariah? If only! Hollywood actors and actresses are still lining up to work with this man, he is rich, still making films and lives in France. Please, Lady why don’t you write a letter to the editor about the horrors of child rape instead of asking us to applaud a rapist? So much entitlement, this coward still thinks *he’s* the victim.

  6. kristen says:

    I really can’t root for either one of them. Can I pick “cancel” for both?

  7. DragonWise says:

    Welp, anyone who knows of Polanski’s history and thinks she’s struck marriage material is someone not worth listening to. *He* made *himself* a pariah when he drugged and raped a little girl and fled to avoid consequences, my sweet summer child! It will never fail to shock me that this very clear-cut story of coercion, drugging, and rape keeps getting twisted to make this useless POS the victim.

  8. madthinking says:

    Thank you for writing about the whole story, and it’s why I have mixed emotions about Polanski. The awful murder of his pregnant wife I think really could have altered him in horrible ways leading up to his crime. Plus the fact Polanski’s victim wants his sentence vacated and the story to leave the headlines has always made me conflicted. Generally, I try to support what a victim wants, but this story has a life of its own. His story and this movie was always a hot mess on many levels. Not sure why this story is being dramatized now. Helter Skelter stories were done a lot in the seventies, and I thought after Manson died we’d have some. Not so much but now we get Tarantino’s take. It’s a scary thought to say the least. I’m betting this movie is going to be very strange and hard to watch

    • NotThatMo says:

      Not to mention his survival of the Holocaust. His mother was killed in Auschwitz, his father went to a different camp and survived the war. Roman escaped the roundup of Jews from the Krakow ghetto, was hidden by a Catholic family, but eventually ended on his own, hiding from the Germans in the woods and abandoned, bombed out buildings. This is why the prosecutor originally set a no jail sentence, not the Tate murder.

      I’m the same age as the victim (one month younger), so I’ve been following this case for a long time. It was a very different time. Teenagers were not seen as children. There was a widespread belief that sexual repression was so horrible and debilitating that pushing past consent was an actively good thing. But what he did was actively wrong and horrible, and he deserves all the consequences of the decision he made. What I really wish is that some way had been found back in the 70s to adequately punish him, while recognizing that his experiences during the Holocaust would make jail time a far graver punishment than it would for someone without his PTSD issues.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        He can suffer from PTSD and also be a horrible person who uses his past as a way to excuse his behaviour.

        Regarding prison. He had already spent 42 days of a 90 day prison stay for psych evaluation (part of the plea bargain). From what I’ve read the judge had indicated that he wanted Polanski to serve out the full 90 days before recommending he be deported but that is not what Polanski and his lawyers were expecting under the plea bargain. He was expecting to go the sentencing hearing and walk out again without any further prison sentence or repercussions as the prison psychiatrists had apparently said he wasn’t a pedo. He fled because he did not want to complete the 90 day prison stay that was part of the original plea bargain or to face deportation.

        TBH I think there should be a new trial esp as there were others who have since come forward.

      • kristen says:

        Yes Digital Unicorn! Two things can be true at once. Roman Polanksi may have suffered unfathomable tragedy. But he may also be a rapist. Why does one excuse the other?

    • anon says:

      VICTIMS. Plural. One of them was 10, not a teenager so that “different times” nonsense doesn’t apply. He’s a rapist and a pedophile.

  9. My3cents says:

    I’m genuinely bewildered at what a woman has to tell herself and make herself believe in order to live with such a monster and then defend him. This is some Camille Cosby next level shit.

  10. Michelle says:

    Actually Polanski was a POS before the tragic murder of Tate. He cheated on her & was attracted to very young girls way before he married Tate. I’ve seen countless footage & Polanski himself interviewed. His calls this behaviour ‘European way of life’. Bullshit!

    • Veronica S. says:

      Yeah, the sanitized picture people draw of Tate and Polanski’s marriage is pretty ridiculous. They had rather notably rocky periods while together. What happened to her was horrifying but more so that her gruesome death has been co-opted by so many to satisfy questions people have about POLANSKI. Two women’s lives destroyed for the sake of celebrating a monster.

    • Mia4s says:

      Pretty much. I highly, HIGHLY recommend the You Must Remember This podcast season on Manson (called Charles Manson’s Hollywood). Very thorough and….let’s just honest….about the various people involved.

  11. Veronica S. says:

    He’s a child rapist, who cares about his feelings, lol? It’s amazing to me how many people want to defend the tragedy of his background to defend that shit. What an insult to other victims of crime who don’t go on to behave that way. God knows how many other young girls he’s attacked in the years since.

  12. Eyfalia says:

    Polanski sexually abused a young girl AND his wife and their unborn child was murdered.
    Tarantino has the nerve to make a movie about the murder without talking to members of the family of the victim who are still alive?

    The sexually abused young girl would like people to stop talking about it. She is over 50 now, has children and grandchildren and would like this story to be buried.

  13. Ally says:

    As a reminder, it wasn’t just Samantha Geimer. Polanski was on a child-entrapment and -sexual-assault spree.

    • DS9 says:

      This whole article is why I’ll always feel ways about Polanski.

      That is the clear description of rape and a clear description of a man who preys on underaged girls.

      The juxtaposition of his account and the victim’s is even more startling than Moby’s vs Natalie Portman’s which, quite frankly, makes me wonder at the latter’s disconnect. I wonder if she’s reassessed.

  14. JRenee says:

    She married him, mute her based on that alone.

  15. Ref7 says:

    Does Roman Polanski’s wife have issues with being Roman Polanski’s wife? If not, I don’t think I have much interest in her other opinions.

  16. cupcake says:

    She should have called one pig and told him how she felt about him portraying the other pig OR kept this to herself.

  17. Mina says:

    I assume her main issue is what Tarantino did with the Sharon Tate story, not just that he did something with it. It would be a spoiler to say more, but I can see why anyone connected to her would be upset.

    (That of course is a different issue that Polanski being gross, but Tarantino has previously defended him so…)

  18. The Recluse says:

    Leaving Polanski out of it momentarily, one wonders what Sharon’s surviving relations feel about this? Do they feel that her horrible fate is being exploited? I have some deep reservations about this film solely on Tate’s behalf. She died in a way that is almost unimaginably horrific. It should not be used for entertainment.