Tax exile Depardieu to open ‘Gérard’ restaurant in Moscow
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French film star Gérard Depardieu – who quit France in a tax row and was offered Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin – is to open a Franco-Russian restaurant in Moscow called "Gérard".
Known for his gargantuan appetite, Depardieu already owns three restaurants in Paris, several vineyards as well as bistros and brasseries in Belgium.
Just last weekend he failed to turn up at the Edinburgh Film Festival in Scotland after a boisterous night "attacking" a haggis – a Scottish delicacy made from oats and sheep innards – and sampling local beers and whiskies in a pub on the Isle of Skye.
The actor had been due at a premiere of the controversial film "Welcome to New York" – the ever-so-lightly fictionalised rehashing of the downfall of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn – in which he the plays the lead role.
But after his night of tucking into local Scottish delicacies and sampling the country’s famed whiskey enthusiastically with Irish poet Rody Gorman – with accompanying photos springing up on Twitter by star-struck locals – he angered festival organisers by failing to turn up.
Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, a festival organiser said, “He has let the festival down very badly.”
Gorman, however, immediately jumped to his defence. Writing in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, he said, "He didn't seem particularly drunk, or at least no more so than anybody else." Depardieu reportedly shook everyone’s hand before leaving and was lead out by a bagpiper at 9pm, "calling for fresh scallops as he went".
Depardieu said his Moscow restaurant will open in October and serve, "the simple food that I like, with dishes from Russia and France."
He told the Russian Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid that he hopes to open two more restaurants in Russia, one in Saint Petersburg and another in Saransk, the capital of Mordovia, where he lives.
Asked about his much-publicised friendship with Putin, Depardieu said, "I think everything that man does he does for Russia."
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)