Monday, October 12, 2009

Another Actress Who Played Sharon?

I know there have been a few actresses who played Sharon, for instance, Whitney Dylan and some bit actress for the '70s Helter Skelter, but I didn't realize there was another actress that has played her recently?

Her name? Brienne De Beau... She played Sharon in the recent film "Polanski: Unauthorized."

I vaguely remember hearing about this film being made by Damian Chapa last year.  Since then, I had not heard anything about it until today on another blog:

The official website for the film is here:

Be sure to check out the trailer there.

According to, De Beau's performance "captures the aura of Sharon Tate."

The website for Brienne De Beau is here:

Here are a few photos I found on the net:

I even found an interview with the Director/Star Chapa :

An Authorized Interview with Damian Chapa on his Polanski: Unauthorized


The Holocaust. Rosemary's Baby. Chinatown. Charles Manson. The Murder of Sharon Tate. A criminal charge for rape of a minor. Exile. An Academy Award for directing The Pianist three decades later.

And those are just the major chapters. There's enough for a 10-part miniseries.

As subjects for a film biopic go, the life of Roman Polanski has long been one of the great untapped source materials. The horrific Manson murders have of course been covered in documentaries and re-creations, and Polanski has sometimes appeared as a supporting character in those productions. The story of Polanski is one that you could easily see being made at the studio level with the biggest stars and $100 million budget. But no one has ever taken up the task, except for a low-budget filmmaker and actor named Damian Chapa, who directs, co-wrote, and stars as Polanski himself in soon-to-be-completed biopic Polanski: Unauthorized.

Chapa typically works guerrilla-style on relatively small budgets on his own productions (although Polanski: Unauthorized is likely his biggest budget to date). As an actor, he’s best known for his starring roles in Taylor Hackford’s Blood In, Blood Out; Street Fighter; and his work playing Lyle Menendez in the TV film "Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills". During the past few years, he’s carved out a niche directing, producing, and sometimes starring in independent features. Some of Chapa’s recent productions include Fuego, where he played a secret agent opposite David Carradine, and El Padrino, where he directed and starred with Jennifer Tilly, Faye Dunaway, Brad Dourif, Rachel Hunter, and Gary Busey.

It seems inevitable that viewers will be as divided over Chapa's take on Polanski as much as society itself still is over the man. The film has a built-in audience of Polanski fans, and being one, of his work at least, I can say that I'm extremely conflicted over my own feelings for the guy. Although my own research into the real details of Polanski's life is pretty much limited to the reading of his autobiography "Roman by Polanski", I can say that Chapa attempts for an even portrayal here. Polanski's own autobiography is actually sometimes more merciless on its subject. For every scene in the film where Polanski is shown to be consumed by debauchery, there is another one where he's portrayed in a more sympathetic light. Both tones will probably invoke anger from some quarters. The man's life is so complicated and controversial that this is perhaps the reason only a low-budget filmmaker has been willing to take it on as a biopic.

When did you decide you wanted to make a film about the life of Roman Polanski?

Damian Chapa: Well, I was actually doing a horror film – not horror really, more of a psychological thriller, and a lot of people kept telling me, "You have to watch some Roman Polanski!" I honestly had never really watched that many of his films. I think I saw a few bits and pieces during my life, and what I saw I didn't really get excited by. I just hadn't seen that much of his work. And then I saw Rosemary's Baby again, and I remember seeing it as a kid, and thinking it was kinda strange and scary. But then when you watch it in your forties….it just doesn't really scare me anymore. Certain films don't stand the test of time, for me, anyway. But I watched it anyway with some friends, because I wanted to get some kind of feeling for this other film I was doing. We all watched it, and then everybody went to this coffee joint afterwards, and everyone is starting to talk. One guy said, "Oh, I like the film! I thought it was brilliant! It's a masterpiece!" And another guy goes, "Oh, it's a boring piece of crap! I can't even – I'm falling asleep!" And another girl says, "Well, I think Roman Polanski is evil – he raped a thirteen-year-old girl." They heard the word, "Polanski," and they started…all these different opinions started to come out. I'm sitting there listening to all these people going back and forth – I mean, it was from one gamut to the other on the topic of Polanski, and I noticed that it caused all this friction. And then this little old lady walked in, she had this big cross around her neck, she was one of the Bible-thumping type of ladies….she got a little hot chocolate, and I noticed she was listening to this conversation amongst the young people I was with. "Polanski's the Devil." "Polanski's the best." "Polanski's an Academy Award winner." "Oh, he's the worst filmmaker." "Oh, he's the greatest filmmaker." "He should be raped like she was." I mean, you name it, it causes – when you say that word "Polanski," it just causes controversy immediately. So this little old lady gets up and walks over to us, and here's all these people screaming and yelling, blah-blah-blah, and she says, "You oughta just forgive that man – that's what he needs, and you should pray for him." And I barely know who this guy is. But I'm sitting there thinking, "Man, this is a movie: Roman Polanski. Why don't I do a movie about him?" And I went right home…I rushed home actually, and pulled up the IMDB, and discovered that there has never been a movie focusing on Polanski. I couldn't believe it. And then I started doing research on his life…because when I was brought up, I had always heard of this director in Hollywood who raped a sixteen-year-old. But then, when I started doing my research, I found out that she was thirteen. So when I heard it was thirteen, I said, "Wow, this is crazy. Here's a guy that rapes a thirteen-year-old girl and he gets kicked out of the country – well, actually, he left the country, but he was a fugitive, and he eventually gets an Academy Award." And I kept thinking, "How does this happen? It's such a dichotomy!" So I research, research, research and then I realized….in the beginning, I wanted to do this because it was different and controversial and because I thought it was interesting. Then you start having to make decisions about how you are going to express this story and what type of attitude you'll take. In the beginning, it was all about justice, as in "I'm gonna show the world blah-blah-blah the dichotomy and the evils of Hollywood, how horrible it is that they can do this" – and then once I started to really capture the guy's youth, and I started…I didn't really start understanding his actions, but I started understanding why he was like he was. And then I started making parallels with my life and all the mistakes I've made, and I started feeling guilty for my own judgments, and then I started embracing the hardships that he went through, and started to feel the pain, actually. And then this one thing came up with the gassing death of his mother. When I did that gassing scene, it was a very emotional time for me, personally, because what happened is that I started saying to myself that some of the initial views that I had on him, were maybe…I realized that this is really a sad story. And the movie started to turn into more of an empathetic journey about what this guy had to go through. It turned into something I never expected it would be. A story about a guy who made a lot of mistakes, but also had a really horrible childhood. That doesn't give him excuse, at all, but hey, you kind of feel for him. And maybe, a lot of people aren't going to like me because of that. Like I said earlier, there is always this thing with Polanski where people either love this guy or hate him, and I understand that, because the same thing happens to me sometimes. There are a lot of people that write a lot of things about me that aren't true. I get a lot of press that is just not true. And I read something that he wrote one time, and this is a paraphrase, he said, "Most of the people in the world believe that I'm a perverted dwarf; however, the people close to me know my heart." And when I read that, it brought tears to my eyes, because you know what? People say stuff about me all the time, and I think, "That's not me, man!" And here, I know Roman Polanski made some horrible mistakes, but I definitely drew a parallel with my own life. That's why I'm probably the only one that thought of doing this and then could follow through with it. Because I know what it's like to be judged every day, tortured with it, and never forgiven. I started working my own kind of faith into the making of this film also. This whole movie is more than just a movie for me, it's kind of a spiritual battle. In your own life, you keep pointing the finger at this person, or that person, and keep showing judgment, and then eventually, you've got three fingers pointing back at yourself, and you start realizing, maybe not in public, but when you're alone, you start realizing, "You know what? Who am I? Am I better than him? Am I? Really?" And I think that's what everybody has to do when they see this film, when they look at the life of Polanski. I tried to give him every benefit of the doubt and the best perspective I could. What I like about my film is that I think it's fair and even-handed.

I know you're about to do distribution screenings so I'm not gonna ask you what the budget is -

You can ask me. It's under two million.
A small budget for the production value. You're doing a period piece here. Actually, it's quite a few periods. You've got the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s in here. World War II scenes actually. How did you pull this off?

You know, like I do everything, man….guerrilla. I'm a guerrilla filmmaker. We had a great director of photography in Pierre Chemaly. And Christian Serritiello, he's one of the actors in the film…the guy not only gave a great performance, but he and I sort of stuck together for the second phase of production. He became not only a producer, but a First A.D. We took on all these jobs of the production together. and we woke up every morning, and we got out there on our guerrilla film shoot. I mean, we woke up one day, and I said, "I need some horses, man. Where are we gonna get some horses?" And we also needed guys who could ride the horses. This is in Belgium. There's no infrastructure for the movie business there. You really have to go out of your way to find stuff.

It's not like L.A. where you can just call the movie horse wrangler.

Right, and then we had the war scenes. Nazis and the Russians. And there's just not really a lot of those costumes in Belgium. We found this group that has war games to do those scenes.

A lot of detail went into recreating the 60s scenes, particularly the Rosemary's Baby set.

But we were blessed, though – we had a set designer, Madla Hruza, who does big movies, and she came and did me a favor. It was really great. And a lot of hard workers, people just really cared. Sylvia Suvadova (who plays Polanski's mother), she was there producing and starring. And she's also over there giving people hot chocolate. She just really gave her soul to this movie.

How many days of shooting?

Around thirty – which is the most I've ever done. I've never had that many days of shooting on my films. Usually I have like three weeks and then I've gotta quit. This one was something around thirty – I put all my own money into it.

What are you doing next?

A film called Mexican Gangster. After that, I'm doing to do two biopic films. I love doing biopics. I'm going to be doing Brando. And then a film on Fellini. I love Fellini.

You're going to have to put on some weight to play Fellini!

No, because I'll be playing Mastroianni .

Let me know if anyone has any comments or has seen this film?

No comments:

Post a Comment