After their work on 2002's harrowing Holocaust drama ''The Pianist,'' Oscar winners Roman Polanski and screenwriter Ronald Harwood are planning a lighter project, one that deals merely with poverty, violence, and street crime. Variety reports that they are planning a new film version of Charles Dickens' ''Oliver Twist.'' They plan to shoot the classic, about an orphaned boy who falls in with a gang of pickpockets, next summer with a British cast.
Dickens' novel has been filmed at least a dozen times, most memorably in 1948 by David Lean and in the 1968 musical version ''Oliver!'', which won the Oscar for Best Picture. But Polanski says he was inspired to try again by his own kids, ages 10 and 5.
Harwood's and Polanski's careers are on a roll after the worldwide success of ''The Pianist.'' Harwood wrote the screenplay for ''Taking Sides,'' another World War II drama that's currently playing in art houses, based on his own stage play. And Polanski, who would be arrested on a 26-year-old statutory rape warrant if he ever returns to the United States, finally received his ''Pianist'' Best Director Oscar trophy on Sunday. The messenger boy was Harrison Ford (who starred in Polanski's ''Frantic,'' and who had announced the director's win during the Academy Awards in March), who hand-delivered the statuette to Polanski at France's Deauville Film Festival.