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'Twilight' studio to distribute Polanski film

 Polish-born film director Roman Polanski awaits a public talk in Potsdam February 19, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke - Reuters
Polish-born film director Roman Polanski awaits a public talk in Potsdam February 19, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
— image credit: Reuters

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Hollywood studio behind the "Twilight" teen franchise said on Friday it has acquired North American rights to distribute jailed director Roman Polanski's latest film, "The Ghost Writer".

Los Angeles-based Summit Entertainment plans to release the thriller in the first half of 2010.

Summit also acted as agent for the film outside North America, and said it sold in all major territories worldwide.

The film, starring Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor, is about a former British prime minister producing a memoir with a ghostwriter, and the intrigues that arise involving the politician's wife, his aide and secrets from his past.

Polanski is under house arrest in Switzerland, after he was arrested in September to face charges of having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in the United States in 1977.

The French-born director's arrest sparked angry reaction from France's culture minister and some Hollywood figures, but was defended by U.S. authorities who requested his arrest.

Polanski was putting the finishing touches on "The Ghost Writer" when he was arrested in Zurich in September.

He is fighting extradition from Switzerland. On Thursday, his attorneys made an effort to have his case dismissed at a California appeals court, citing judicial misconduct at the sentencing phase by the late judge hearing his case more than 30 years ago.

Polanski fled the United States for France in 1978 before he could be sentenced in the case. Legal experts do not expect his latest legal effort for dismissal to succeed.

Summit Entertainment is an independent studio that scored a breakthrough hit last year with vampire romance movie "Twilight," and followed last month with "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," which has $580 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo.

(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Mohammad Zargham)

(please visit our entertainment blog via www.reuters.com or on http://blogs.reuters.com/fanfare/)

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