Marina Zenovich, the director of last year’s HBO documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, has issued a statement responding to retired Los Angeles county prosecutor David Wells’ remarks yesterday that he lied on camera during the filming of the movie. In the doc, Wells claims he advised Superior court Judge Laurence J. Rittenband before sentencing and advised him to sentence the director to prison time. Yesterday Wells told the Los Angeles Times, “That was not true. I like to speak of it as an inept statement, but the reality is that it was a lie.”
Zenovich responds, “I am perplexed by the timing of David Wells’ statement to the press that he lied in his interview with me…. Since June of 2008, the film has been quite visible on U.S. television via HBO, in theaters and on DVD, so it is odd that David Wells has not brought this issue to my attention before.”
She continues. “For the record, on the day I filmed Mr. Wells at the Malibu Courthouse, February 11, 2005, he gave me a one-hour interview. He signed a release like all my other interviewees, giving me permission to use his interview in the documentary worldwide. At no time did I tell him that the film would not air in the United States.”
“Mr. Wells was always friendly and open with me,” says Zenovich. “At no point in the four years since our interview has he ever raised any issues about its content. In fact, in a July 2008 story in The New York Times, Mr. Wells corroborated the account of events that he gave in my film. I’m astonished that he has now changed his story. It is a sad day for documentary filmmakers when something like this happens.”
Zenovich’s documentary has been credited for spurring Polanski’s attorneys to seek dismissal of the case, which many believe inspired the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office to reinvigorate their case against the 76-year old director who fled the United States over 30 years ago upon learning he would be sentenced to more jail time. Polanski was arrested on Sunday in Switzerland and is currently fighting extradition to the United States. Zenovich is planning a sequel to the previous documentary.