"I love the monster that the artist creates."
October 6, 2017 5:08 AM   Subscribe

Nick Pinkerton interviews Gérard Depardieu: "When I met with Depardieu on the patio of The Mark Hotel in New York on an overcast morning in mid-September, he was markedly disinterested in talking about any of his movies, in town as he was for a talk at the French Institute Alliance Française to promote his slender new book, Innocent. The book is more scattershot manifesto than autobiography, its title a double meaning—its author both describes his personal philosophy, of which a doctrine of innocence is an essential element, and protests his own innocence before an imagined jury of the media, who have made tabloid fodder of him."
posted by sapagan (5 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
The book is more scattershot manifesto than autobiography

Hmm, after reading the interview I'd have to say scattershot is autobiography with Depardieu. Which reinforces the notion that Depardieu is certainly a unique figure in cinema and celebrity, but to what effect exactly I can't quite define given his personal mix of bizarre, foolish, and occasional, possibly accidental, brilliance. He certainly is bigger than life, as the saying goes, perhaps not unlike Brando had Marlon more enjoyed his time center stage. He is, however, someone I would definitely go out of my way to avoid if I suspected I would be subject to his company for more than a few minutes or be held as associated with him in any meaningful way. He's one weird dude.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:11 AM on October 6 [3 favorites]


Scattershot ramblings for sure.

Nice that he goes on about Native American's 20,000 year history with the land, but his history of Crimea only begins at Catherine the Great.

I think that's all the time I'll spend on this Putin apologist. I look forward to his Siberian road trip buddy flick with Steven Segal.
posted by Kabanos at 8:45 AM on October 6 [3 favorites]


He's my favorite actor on the planet. That doesn't mean I have to agree in any way with his world view. I did meet him years ago and he was quite charming and respectful. And he should have won the Oscar for Cyrano.
posted by OolooKitty at 7:07 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]


The book is quite decent. Depardieu is surprisingly positive, there's a lot of love (for people, for food, for culture, for art) and very little hate from a guy often known for his public (drunken) rants. Depardieu has lived several lives, travelled and read a lot, and it shows. The book is 100% Depardieu, a shaggy-dog compendium of terse, aphoristic sentences, poetic and rambling at the same time. He's quite moving when he talks about fellow artists, his illiterate father, the people he loved and who are now dead (Marguerite Duras, Barbara, Jean Carmet, his son Guillaume), and the poor and downtrodden (the "innocents" of the title). Less so, of course, when he launches into geopolitical tirades that include Russia/Belarus or the US. Then he's all café du commerce talk ("bar-room talk"?), just more poetic.

A couple of things he talks about:
- In 1962, Satyajit Ray wrote a story about a kid who befriends a stranded alien; Columbia bought the rights for a US–India co-production, with Peter Sellers and Marlon Brando attached, but the movie was never made (or was it ? *** ahem *** E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial). Ray told the story to Depardieu, who later coproduced his last 2 films and convinced Sony to distribute Ray's films in the US. Ray won an Oscar when he was on his deathbed.
- Depardieu converted to Islam after watching Umm Kulthum sing, probably in the mid-70s. He was pretty serious about it, prayed 5 times a day, went to the mosque, for a couple of (dry?) years. Which seems typically the kind of stuff he can do.

He is, however, someone I would definitely go out of my way to avoid if I suspected I would be subject to his company for more than a few minutes
There's a comic book artist, Mathieu Sapin, who followed Depardieu for 5 years on trips and movie shoots all around the planet and made a book about the experience. Depardieu is a "monster", a real-life Shrek who eats and roars a lot, who can be very intimidating with people who piss him off but who is otherwise very sweet, kind and trusting. Sapin says that he could only follow Depardieu for 2-3 days in a row because the guy is exhausting and eats.so.much.food, but that the experience was great.
posted by elgilito at 4:29 PM on October 7 [5 favorites]


He's my favorite actor on the planet. That doesn't mean I have to agree in any way with his world view. I did meet him years ago and he was quite charming and respectful. And he should have won the Oscar for Cyrano.
posted by OolooKitty at 9:07 PM on October 6

And he should have won the Oscar for Danton.
posted by dancestoblue at 2:04 AM on October 8


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