Paul Haggis, Oscar-winning filmmaker, arrested in Italy for sexual assault

Paul HagisCanadian-born screenwriter, director and producer, best known for Oscar-winning Best Picture Accidentwas arrested in the southern Italian town of Ostuni on Sunday. The New York Times reported that the 69-year-old had been charged with “aggravated sexual assault and aggravated bodily harm” by local police.

The police statement said that after two days of “non-consensual reports”, Haggis took his accuser, who is not Italian, to Brindisi airport “at the first light of dawn, despite the physical conditions and psychological precariousness of women”.

Airport staff noticed a woman in a “state of confusion” who was brought to the attention of authorities, who then took her to a local hospital. The Time wrote that “she was treated according to a protocol used in Italy for victims of violence against women” and that “she subsequently reported the violence to the police”. His accusations claimed that the famous filmmaker “would have forced the young woman, whom he had met some time before, to undergo sexual intercourse”.

legal representative of Haggis, Priya Chaudhrysaid she was ‘confident that all allegations against Mr Haggis will be dismissed’ and that ‘he is completely innocent and willing to cooperate fully with the authorities to get the truth out quickly’.

Haggis was in the area before taking part in the Allora International Festival of Cinematic Art and Music celebrating its “first edition”. Casino Royalewhich Haggis co-wrote, is set to air on Sunday, June 26. However, the festival website currently only lists the director Martin Campbell as appearing during the post-screening Q&A. Other notables present at the event include Pierre Olivier, Pawel Pawlikowski, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Irons, Alfred Woodard, Sinead Cusack, Matt Dillon, Edward Norton, Joely Richardsonand Marisa Tomei.

Son of Paul Haggis James Haggisan assistant director and her daughter Alissa Haggisscreenwriter, is still listed as giving master classes, as is the actress Deborah Foxwife of Paul Haggis from 1997 to 2016.

In 2017, Haggis was accused by a reporter of raping her in 2013. Haggis counterattacked the woman, claiming it was a shakedown. Three additional women came forward to bring charges against Haggis in 2018, and the original accuser later successfully had the charge of “sex-motivated hate crime” added to the charges against him. In late April 2021, as the slow pace of justice moved forward, Haggis claimed he was “nearly bankrupt” and hoped the civil trial would end soon, suggesting it wasn’t until he cleared his name that he could find work again.

Haggis got his start as a television writer, with credits on shows like The ship of love, Different shots, The facts of life, Who’s the boss?and thirty and some. In 2004, he wrote the screenplay for Million dollar baby, for which Haggis was nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar. The Clint Eastwood-directed boxing drama won Best Picture, a Best Actress trophy for Hillary Swank and Best Supporting Actor for Morgan FREEMAN.

In 2005, Accident, won Haggis two Oscars, Best Picture (he was both a producer and writer-director) and Best Original Screenplay. Matt Dillon was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

In 2006 Haggis was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for Clint Eastwood Letters from Iwo Jima. Later successes include co-writing two James Bond films, Casino Royale and Quantum of Comfort. In 2015, he directed the HBO series show me a herocreated by david simon and William F. Zorzifeaturing Oscar Isaac, winona ryderand Jon Berntal.

In 2009, Haggis notably broke with the Church of Scientology, of which he had been an active member for 35 years.

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