Stills from Rosemary’s Baby (1968, dir. Roman Polanski, starring Mia Farrow)
A friend said something about your film that’s very perceptive. For all its excellence, it lacks a particular dimension: the director’s belief in the fear he is creating. Rosemary’s Baby is a film made by somebody who doesn’t actually believe in what he is showing, unlike Hitchcock who is himself quite frightened of what his films portray.
Roman Polanski: It’s quite possible. To begin with I’m an atheist, so accepting what happens in the film would be going against who I am and what I believe in. Consequently, I wasn’t frightened and I’m still not frightened. But I’d like to take some sort of drug that would let me forget all about this film, and then go and see it for the first time just as my friends have done.Then I’d experience a bit of the fear that other people have felt. Unfortunately, as I made the film and I don’t believe in either God or in the Devil- which makes my case even worse - I’m doubly incapable of being frightened by my own creation, and that really bothers me.
The reason I decided to make Rosemary’s Baby was simply because I adored the novel. For a filmmaker like myself it’s a very seductive book and made me want to film it. This is quite normal - it’s like when you want to make love to a woman even though you know she is a prostitute. I told myself I really had no choice in the matter, even though the ideas behind the story are quite foreign to me.