Pianist, The (2002) - Synopsis
I always knew that one day I would make a film about this painful chapter in Polish history, but I didn't want it to be autobiographical. After reading the first chapter of Wladyslaw Szpilman's memoirs, I instantly knew that THE PIANIST would be the subject of my next film. It was the story I was seeking: in spite of the horror, the account has a positive side and is full of hope. I survived the Krakow ghetto and the bombing of Warsaw and I wanted to recreate my memories from childhood. It was also important for me to remain as close to reality as possible, and not make a film that was typically Hollywood. And if my memories weren't enough, I could always count on the authenticity of Szpilman's account written just after the war - perhaps that's why the story is so strong and genuine. He describes the reality of this period with surprising objectivity which is almost cool and scientific. In his book, there are bad Poles and good Poles, just like there were bad and good Jews, bad and good Germans. ..
Before we began the shoot, we naturally consulted historians and ghetto survivors. I also showed the crew several documentaries on the Warsaw ghetto. As for the actor who was to play Szpilman, I was never looking for a physical resemblance. I wanted an actor who could slip into the skin of the character as I had imagined him when I worked on the script. It was important to find someone who was somewhat known. As the film was shot in English, we needed someone who spoke the language fluently. We organized a casting call in London. To our surprise 1,400 candidates auditioned, among them Chinese and Black women. .. After the audition, we realized it would be difficult to find someone without any experience. I didn't find anyone in England, so I extended my search to America. When I saw a few of Adrien Brody's films, I didn't hesitate for a moment: he was THE PIANIST.