Thirteen-year-old Samantha Geimer was underwhelmed with famed film director Roman Polanski when she met him in February of 1977. “Mostly I was thinking: Ew, there’s this guy who’s like my size and sort of looks like a ferret. But he’s super-powerful and he wants to photograph me. Me!” Her mother, an aspiring actress and model, had agreed to allow the filmmaker to take photos of her young daughter—he said it was for the French edition of Vogue.
For the first photo session, which took place several days later, the young girl was topless. The second session, for which she posed nude in a Jacuzzi at Jack Nicholson’s empty home a few weeks later, became the subject of one of the biggest scandals ever to rock Hollywood.
The 43-year-old director, after giving Geimer champagne and a Quaalude, engaged in vaginal, oral and anal sex with her, she says in the book. Polanski initially disputed Geimer’s claim that she had fought his advances, arguing that that the sex was consensual. But he eventually pled guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. He then fled to Europe before sentencing, where he has lived ever since.
Geimer, who gained some notoriety as the unnamed teen in the case, has decided—at age 50—that she is finally ready to tell her story about the now 80-year-old director. The resulting book, The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski, goes on sale September 17. Her explosive account (co-written by her lawyer Lawrence Silver with Judith Newman), is at once a tabloidy page-turner, and a thoughtful memoir. Geimer, has largely ducked the spotlight since the criminal case, though there was a $500,000 settlement that became public.
The debate goes on: was Polanski a rapist? It is left to the reader to be outraged about Polanski’s actions, because Geimer is not. She forgives him, though the reader may not. In fact, all of the adults in this story behaved badly, and failed to protect a confused young girl.
Here are what we found to be the top 10 revelations in the book:
* * * *
01. Geimer, who as a 13-year-old was auditioning for acting parts, admits that she was originally willing to take off her top, though she was very uncomfortable.
02. Prior to the second photo session, Polanski asked Geimer: “Have you ever had sex?” (She had, one time before—and responded in the affirmative, not wanting the director to think of her a a child.)
03. During that session, Polanski gave Geimer several glasses of wine and a Quaalude.
04. It was only when Polanski climbed in the Jacuzzi with her after taking off his clothes, did Geimer begin to understand what was happening.
05. Geimer was confused throughout her ordeal, telling him she needed to go home.
06. Afterwards, Polanski urged the young girl not to tell her mother, asking that what just happened remain their secret.
07. Polanski then took her home and showed photos from the shoot to her parents.
08. After Geimer reveal told her parents the whole story, they called the police and took her to a hospital to be examined. Her outraged mother kept repeating, “The fucker. The fucker. I’ll kill him.”
09. When she returned to ninth grade, she reflected on what had happened: “Not everyone will understand this, but I never thought he wanted to hurt me; he wanted me to enjoy it. He was arrogant and horny.”
10. That same summer, having finished junior high, Geimer went off to summer camp. Included in her diary entries, among the “blah blah blah” observations typical of a young girl, was this recollection from a few months earlier: “I got my pics taken by Roman Polanski and he raped me, fuck.”