Gerard Depardieu to Star in Russian Comedy 'Sports Without Borders'

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Gerard Depardieu

The release of the film will coincide with the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

MOSCOW – French actor and new Russian citizen Gerard Depardieu is set to star in a Russian comedy timed to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Depardieu will play the manager of the Russian ski squad in Sport Bez Granits (Sports Without Borders), a €3 million co-production between Russia and Austria, the Russian wire service RIA Novosti reported.

Depardieu’s character, Sergei Romanov, receives an unofficial order to win the Olympic gold at any cost and, to achieve that, he fires all the Russian coaches and appoints Austrian Franz Keiser, who is known for his unconventional coaching techniques.

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The film will be co-directed by Russia’s Alexander Lomakin and Austrian veteran Otto Retzer. This will be the third Russian project this year that involves Depardieu, who received Russian citizenship earlier this year and later registered as an individual entrepreneur here to save on taxes.

Meanwhile, the French actor is unlikely to be cast by Nikita Mikhalkov, the director said on the opening night of the Moscow International Film Festival on June 20. “I want to understand why he came,” Mikhalkov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti. "If he came because taxes are high at home, he needs to say so."

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He added that if there are other reasons for Depardieu’s obtaining a Russian citizenship, it could lead to "a comical situation, which will be unpleasant for everyone who values him as an actor."

Incidentally, Rasputin, in which Depardieu played the main role, will be screened as the festival’s closing night film on June 29.