Loading...

Paul Haggis: who is film director arrested over alleged sexual misconduct - what movies has he worked on?

Haggis, who co-wrote James Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, has denied the allegations

Film director and producer Paul Haggis has been detained in Italy over allegations of sexual assualt, according to Italian news agencies.

It is understood that Haggis was in the country for a film festival in Ostuni, Puglia, in Southern Italy, when he was arrested on Sunday 19 June.

Sign up to our NationalWorld Today newsletter

He was apparently due to headline the Allora Fest film festival, which begins on Tuesday 21 June, and has denied the allegations against him via his lawyer.

So, who is Paul Haggis, what films has he worked on, what are the allegations against him and what has his lawyer said?

Here’s what you need to know.

Who is Paul Haggis?

Haggis, 69, is a Canadian Oscar-winning director, producer and screenwriter.

He is also a two-time Academy Award winner, two-time Emmy Award winner, and seven-time Gemini Award winner.

He is a father-of-four and has three daughters from his first marriage to Diana Gettas and one son from his second marriage to Deborah Rennard.

He now lives in Santa Monica, California.

What movies has Haggis worked on?

He is best known as screenwriter and producer for consecutive Best Picture Oscar winners Million Dollar Baby (2004) and Crash (2005), the latter of which he also directed.

He also won an Oscar for the best original screenplay for Crash in 2006.

Haggis also co-wrote the war film Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and the James Bond films Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008).

What are the allegations against Haggis?

The news agency LaPresse published a written statement from prosecutors in the nearby Italian port city of Brindisi which said they were investigating allegations a “young foreign woman” was forced to have “non-consensual” sexual relations over two days.

Prosecutors Antonio Negro and Livia Orlando, who are conducting the investigation, said in the statement the woman was “forced to seek medical care” following the alleged incident.

They said the alleged victim had been staying with Haggis ahead of the festival and that, after two days “of non-consensual relations, the woman was accompanied by the man” to Brindisi airport on Sunday and “was left there at dawn despite [her] precarious physical and psychological conditions”.

Airport staff and police noticed her “obvious confused state” and “after lending initial treatment, took her to Brindisi’s police headquarters, where officers accompanied her to a local hospital for examination”.

Prosecutors were also quoted as saying that "the suspect allegedly forced the young woman, whom he met some time ago, to undergo sexual intercourse” and the woman “formalised her complaint and cited circumstances which were subsequently looked into for confirmation by investigators.”

The woman’s nationality or age are not known.

Police said they were not authorised to give out information about the case, including where Mr Haggis was being held, but according to Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper he is under house arrest at a hotel in Ostuni.

What has Haggis’ lawyer said in response to the allegations?

The ANSA and AGI agencies reported Mr Haggis has denied the allegations via his lawyer, Michele Laforgia, according to the BBC.

"Make enquiries as soon as possible, I am totally innocent," the Canadian filmmaker said, according to the agencies, who quoted Laforgia.

Another lawyer representing Mr Haggis, Priya Chaudhry, issued a statement to various outlets, including Variety, saying the director was"totally innocent".

She said: "Under Italian Law, I cannot discuss the evidence. That said, I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed against Mr Haggis.

“He is totally innocent and willing to fully cooperate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly."