Gerard Depardieu lambasted the Hollywood star system for playing it too safe, and chided George Clooney for getting involved in politics, as the veteran French actor appeared at the Berlin film festival on Friday to promote his new movie.
Depardieu, who was speaking at a press conference for his film Saint Amour in which he plays a bull farmer, noted that Clooney had met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin last week to discuss the refugee crisis. “I saw that Mr George Clooney wanted to see Mrs Merkel. I worry that it went badly,” he said, adding: “It’s good that now you can be an actor and a ecologist and a politician, you can do everything.”
Depardieu also took a potshot at The Revenant , starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a frontiersman who survives a mauling by a bear and makes a superhuman trek in the snowy wilderness. The film is considered a strong entry in the Academy Awards and the vehicle that may win DiCaprio his first Oscar for best actor. “That’s a bit different from what you get in general in cinema at the moment,” Depardieu said, referring to the gritty setting for the film and reports that the actors had to work in very trying conditions.
“Because if I take the Oscars, The Revenant, with the production crew behind and the heating (on set) and all that ‘go and cover yourself in shit’ - but I’m sure the ‘shit’ is perfumed - and you’re in this mud, which is perfumed and isn’t cold, it’s heated,” Depardieu said.
Asked about his having accepted Russian citizenship granted to him by President Vladimir Putin in 2013 at a time when Depardieu was chafing at the prospect of higher French taxes, the actor said these days when he travels he feels that he is Russian. “I feel very Russian even abroad because I am outside of France, a lot,” he said.
“How would one not feel more Russian than French with the president that we have in France?,” Depardieu said, referring to President Francois Hollande. Since he got his Russian passport, Depardieu has defended Russia’s international policies in interviews with French and other media.
“It’s true that I have a lot of admiration for Putin and what he does and for the Russian population. Some French intellectuals don’t like that sometimes - including my friends and I am not reproaching them, I don’t want anything to do with that because me, I know what I live.” Benoit Delepine, who directs the film in which Depardieu’s character Jean takes his son Bruno, played by Benoit Poelvoorde, on a tour of the French wine country, said the parts had been written with the two actors in mind, having seen them work together in the 2010 film, Mammuth.
“We already realised that they had a sort of absolute and volcanic rapport, so we tried to show that in a film, it should show something,” Delepine said.