Actor Gerard Depardieu is all set to play Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in a film helmed by French director Fanny Ardant. Depardieu is known for his acting prowess and scandals. In recent times, Depardieu -- known for such wonderful films as Francois Truffaut’s The Last Metro, Les Miserables, Police, Cyrano de Bergerac and as Obelix in the Asterix series -- has attracted attention for the most unsavoury acts. In 2011, he urinated on the aisle of a plane flying from Paris to Dublin. In 2012, he punched a motorist in Paris. The same year, he fell off a scooter he was riding in an intoxicated state.
In 2013, Depardieu renounced his French passport criticising the high taxes in the country, and accepted Vladimir Putin’s offer of Russian citizenship. In a biography he wrote in 2013, he quipped that the Russian leader, Putin, “liked my hooligan side”.
And now, Depardieu is ready to tackle Stalin -- whom probably most of the world hates. But then Depardieu being Depardieu, he would love the controversy he would create enacting Stalin on screen.
Ardant’s movie, yet to be titled, has been adapted from a 2013 novel called Stalin’s Sofa. Penned by Jean-Daniel Baltassat, the story is set in the erstwhile Soviet Union of the 1950s and centres on a young artist assigned to create a monument for the dictator. But he soon runs into problems as the KGB begins to investigate him.
Incidentally, Ardant is also known to have stirred up the hornet’s nest. She once said she loved Renato Curcio, a former leader of the militant Red Brigades in Italy. Her declaration caused such a furore in Italy that she was asked not to attend the Venice Film Festival. It is another matter that she later apologised to the victims of terrorism.
Interestingly, Ardant’s role along with Depardieu in The Woman Next Door in the early 1980s won her accolades. The movie was directed by Truffaut, and she later became his companion and gave birth to their daughter, Josephine, in 1983.
She helmed her first feature in 2009, Ashes and Blood, a sort of Greek tragedy that was screened at Cannes that year, but it is her acting that is best remembered -- in movies like Confidentially Yours and 8 Women.
Will the Stalin biopic with Depardieu -- an actor that she has probably been closest to after Truffaut -- take Fanny Ardant to the skies?
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