The Ghost Writer

February 19th 2010
  • Suspense/Thriller,
  • PG-13,
  • 128 min,
  • Summit Entertainment
  • Cast: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Timothy Hutton, Tom Wilkinson, Eli Wallach, James Belushi, Jon Bernthal, Robert Pugh, Daphne Alexander, Jaymes Butler, Marianne Graffam, Glenn Conroy, Anne Wittman, Angelique Fernandez, Michael S. Ruscheinsky, Kate Copeland, Nyasha Hatendi, James McNeill, Eben Young
  • Director: Roman Polanski
  • Writers: Roman Polanski, Robert Harris
  • Producers: Robert Benmussa, Alain Sarde
  • Co Producers: Timothy Burrill, Christoph Fisser, Henning Molfenter, Charlie Woebcken
  • Art Direction: David Scheunemann
  • Casting: Fiona Weir
  • Costume Design: Dinah Collin
  • D.O.P.: Pawel Edelman
  • Editor: Hervé de Luze
  • Makeup: Didier Lavergne
  • Music: Alexandre Desplat
  • Production Design: Albrecht Konrad
  • Set Decoration: Bernhard Henrich


When a successful British ghostwriter, The Ghost, agrees to complete the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang, his agent assures him it's the opportunity of a lifetime. But the project seems doomed from the start—not least because his predecessor on the project, Lang's long-term aide, died in an unfortunate accident.

The Ghost flies out to work on the project, in the middle of winter, to an oceanfront house on an island off the U.S. Eastern seaboard. But the day after he arrives, a former British cabinet minister accuses Lang of authorizing the illegal seizure of suspected terrorists and handing them over for torture by the CIA—a war crime.

The controversy brings reporters and protesters swarming to the island mansion where Lang is staying with his wife, Ruth, and his personal assistant (and mistress), Amelia. As The Ghost works, he begins to uncover clues suggesting his predecessor may have stumbled on a dark secret linking Lang to the CIA—and that somehow this information is hidden in the manuscript he left behind. Was Lang in the service of the American intelligence agency while he was prime minister? And was The Ghost's predecessor murdered because of the appalling truth he uncovered?

Resonating with topical themes, this atmospheric and suspenseful political thriller is a story of deceit and betrayal on every level— sexual, political and literary. In a world in which nothing, and no one, is as it seems, The Ghost quickly discovers that the past can be deadly—and that history is decided by whoever stays alive to write it.

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Filming Locations: Berlin, Germany; Sylt, Germany
  • MPAA Warning: Language, brief nudity/sexuality, some violence and a drug reference
  • Production Companies: RP Films, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Runteam, Studio Babelsberg
  • Production Schedule: 4 February 2009 - April 2009

Featured Articles


2010 Guide Analysis: Perhaps the most infamous film of the year despite only just being completed, the first film directed by Roman Polanski since 2005's "Oliver Twist" was well into post-production when the director was arrested in Switzerland for the outstanding charges against him from 1977 for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Though jailed and still currently under house arrest awaiting a decision on extradition appeals, Polanski was allowed to finish work on his film while incarcerated.

That decision about his fate will not be forthcoming until well into early next year, before which the film will have its world premiere at the 60th Berlinale in competition. "Twilight" distributor Summit Entertainment got excited enough after recently seeing a screening of the completed film that they've bought the North American distribution rights and are planning release sometime in the first half of next year. How big that release will be is anybody's guess.

What will likely get lost in the debate though will be the film itself. Using an excellent cast and script by "Fatherland" and "Enigma" author Robert Harris who adapted his own novel, the twist-filled mystery drama has a solid foundation and will no doubt ooze atmosphere like all of Polanski's films from acclaimed successes like "Rosemary's Baby" and "Repulsion" to less known but often underrated cult efforts such as "Death and the Maiden" and "The Ninth Gate".

Sadly no matter what the quality, there are many who will find it difficult to distinguish between the art and the artist and so minds will be made up already despite not seeing a frame. On top of that, if the reaction veers too strongly positive or negative it will be seen as spin from his supporters or detractors having had an impact on critical consensus. Finally if the decision on his appeals come around the same time as the release, there could be even more heated debate. Either way this'll definitely be one to watch and should do great business in limited release.

Trailers & Clips

Watch this films trailers

Worldwide Release Dates

  • 18 February 2010: Germany, Switzerland
  • 19 February 2010: Austria, Italy, Poland
  • 3 March 2010: Belgium, France
  • 25 March 2010: Denmark
  • 16 April 2010: Finland, Sweden
  • 28 May 2010: Romania
  • 24 June 2010: Czech Republic
  • 19 August 2010: Argentina, Slovakia