Facing conflicts in his helming schedule, Roman Polanski has made a shocking decision to drop out his duties on "Pompeii", a dramatic thriller feature he had been attached to direct since February this year, Screen Daily reports.
The Paris-born filmmaker is learned to quit the big-budgeted project after Summit International indicated it may have to postpone the film's principal photography in Europe next summer because of concerns over a possible industry strike. The company currently is selling worldwide rights as well as looking for Polanski's replacement with producers Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde.
"I put a lot of work and energy into the development of Pompeii, so it is not without regret that I have to decline my further involvement," Polanski, whose schedule does not allow him to accommodate an uncertain start date beyond 2008, remarked.
Meanwhile, Summit International chief executive officer Patrick Wachsberger has released a statement confirming both the delay in bringing the movie into development and Polanski's departure.
"In order to ensure that a film of this calibre and scale is produced in the manner required, the producers have pushed back the film to a time that will accommodate the production needs," the man said. "While we are saddened that Roman will not be available to direct the film, we know we will work with the renowned film-maker and our friend in the near future."