Polan­ski hor­ror film gives birth to mini- se­ries


IN 1968, renowned Pol­ish film-maker Ro­man Polan­ski turned Ira Levin’s best-sell­ing novel, Rose­mary’s Baby, into a movie. It ended in a box-of­fice suc­cess with Mia Far­row and John Cas­savetes in the lead. Now, Ag­nieszka Hol­land is at­tempt­ing to mir­ror that re­sult with a mini-se­ries and a stel­lar cast.

Un­like the movie, which was set in Man­hat­tan, this Lifetime Chan­nel mini-se­ries gains mo­men­tum in the scenic lo­cales of Paris.

And Zoë Sal­dana and Pa­trick J Adams es­say the roles of their for­mi­da­ble film pre­de­ces­sors.

The TV show opens with Rose­mary and Guy dev­as­tated by her mis­car­riage. And so the English lit­er­a­ture lec­turer ac­cepts a job in the City of Lights, where he hopes to fin­ish his novel while he and his wife get a fresh start.

But Rose­mary’s mug­ging ir­re­vo­ca­bly changes their life when their paths cross with that of an in­flu­en­tial Parisian cou­ple – Ro­man (Ja­son Isaacs) and Mar­gaux Castevet (Ca­role Bou­quet).

At first, it ap­pears to be for the bet­ter. The cou­ple in­vite them to live in their re­ally plush apart­ment build­ing, in­clud­ing gift­ing them with new wardrobes. But some­thing starts to feel off for Rose­mary.

Shed­ding light on why this se­ries – and premise – works, Isaacs told Col­lider.com: “There are not that many great plots around and this is one of those fab­u­lously scary-creepy things. Zoë does an un­be­liev­able job of be­ing in a state of emo­tional dis­tress. She doesn’t know who is go­ing to stay alive, whom she can trust, whether she can trust her own hus­band or if she can trust this lovely, glam­orous, chic cou­ple who have ba­si­cally adopted them and given them a life­style beyond their wildest imag­i­na­tions.

“This is a mod­ern story told in a rather bril­liant, young, sen­ti­men­tal way by Ag­nieszka. She (the di­rec­tor) is a force of na­ture. She doesn’t take any pris­on­ers (ei­ther). She is not in­ter­ested in de­riv­a­tive act­ing, or any kind of emo­tional bull­shit. In­stead, she is con­tin­u­ously cu­ri­ous about the worse as­pects of hu­man be­hav­iour and the cor­rup­tion of the soul. She is plugged into the real world. I was a fan be­fore, and I’m a big­ger fan now.”

On us­ing Paris as a back­drop, he shared: “I think it was a bril­liant move be­cause they don’t speak the lan­guage. They don’t quite un­der­stand the cul­ture around them. Or the medicine. There’s Mar­gaux mak­ing th­ese in­cred­i­ble herbal drinks for Rose­mary…”

As for work­ing along­side the Suits heart-throb, he noted: “As her hus­band, he has such an open face and feels like such a charm­ing young man who is the kind of per­son that par­ents would hap­pily have tak­ing their daugh­ter to the prom. The fact that he sold his wife out, it takes longer to come to terms with. Even though he is, in some ways, the most de­spi­ca­ble character, your heart goes out to him. Hope­fully, Ira and Ro­man would en­joy it and the spirit of the story.”

While the movie played up the whole para­noia as­pect, this minis­eries goes full-throt­tle on the hor­ror as­pect: this dark world, where witch­craft and covens are hid­den be­hind mon­eyed doors, is re­port­edly a lot more creepy, gory and nasty. Polan­ski’s 1968 hor­ror, while a hit, re­mains one of the 100 most con­tro­ver­sial films of all time.

It rat­tled the cages of The Na­tional Catholic Of­fice for Mo­tion Pic­tures for “mock­ing re­li­gion and mak­ing per­verted use of Christian be­liefs”.

Rose­mary’s Baby was also one of the first movies that dab­bled in themes of Satanism and the oc­cult. And it pre­ceded The Ex­or­cist (1973), The Omen (1976) and De­mon Seed (1977).

In­ter­est­ingly, the film ended up haunt­ing Polan­ski after its re­lease when, a year later, his preg­nant


THE BIRTH OF EVIL: Pa­trick J Adams ( Suits) and Zoë Sal­dana play Guy and Rose­mary Woodhouse, a young mar­ried cou­ple, in the sus­pense drama, Rose­mary’s Baby.

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