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.