Gerard Depardieu: Uncontrollable king of French film

Paris (AFP) –


He may be feted as one of France's finest actors, but Gerard Depardieu has also always been a magnet for scandal.

With the 72-year-old star now facing charges of raping and sexually assaulting a young French actress, here are some of his most inglorious moments:

- Lost in translation -

Depardieu lost out on an Oscar in 1991 for his performance in "Cyrano de Bergerac" after an outcry over an interview with Time magazine in which he claimed he witnessed many rapes during his dirt-poor childhood.

"I say a lot of stupid things," the actor later said, trying to limit the damage.

A mistranslation of one of his quotes didn't help -- wrongly suggesting that he took part in a rape when he was only nine.

Despite French politicians jumping to his defence, the Oscar went instead to Jeremy Irons.

- Florentine headbutt -

In 2005 while out shopping with a young woman in Florence, Depardieu headbutted a journalist taking photos of the couple.

Dario Orlandi said the actor had beckoned him over before butting him in the face.

Depardieu labelled Orlandi a "paparazzo" -- something he and press freedom organisations denied. The actor skipped a court hearing but was found guilty and fined 800 euros (then $1,275).

- Toilet troubles -

On a flight from Dublin to Paris in 2011, Depardieu was caught short when an attendant barred him entry to the toilet during take-off.

Unable to restrain himself, he took an empty bottle offered by a companion and urinated into it in the aisle, causing a spillage on the carpet when the bottle overflowed.

Take-off was halted and Depardieu was escorted off the plane.

"I'm not a monster," he later said on a US talk show. "I'm just a man who wants to pee."

- Putin bromance -

In 2013 Depardieu sparked a huge outcry by taking Russian nationality in protest at a proposed French tax on the rich.

President Vladimir Putin treated him to dinner to present him with his new citizenship and Depardieu was gushing in his praise of the Russian leader.

"The Russian nation needs a person just like this -- with a Russian temper. Putin is trying to return a bit of dignity to the people."

- One for the road -

Depardieu has a checkered driving history, being banned in 2014 after falling off his scooter in Paris after a heavy lunch.

He was sentenced in absentia for being more than three times over the legal alcohol limit having repeatedly skipped court appearances.

He then managed to evade the suspension by swapping his licence for a Belgian one, enabling him to drive freely in France.

- Toasting a haggis -

Depardieu skipped the premiere of his film "Welcome to New York" at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2014 to go on a drinking binge on the Isle of Skye.

He failed to turn up after a boisterous time "attacking" a haggis -- a Scottish delicacy of oats and sheep innards -- and downing local beers and whiskies "to beat the band".