RomaCinema's case of two Depardieus


ROME -- A look-alike pretending to be French actor Gerard Depardieu walked into Rome's Hotel de Russie and walked out with the real Depardieu's festival gift basket, the local press reported Friday.

Depardieu is scheduled to come to the RomaCinemaFest, which got under way Thursday, to promote his out of competition film "La Abbuffata" -- in which he plays himself -- and as part of a retrospective that includes his 1976 film "1900," directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.

Police said Friday that they are looking for the Depardieu doppelganger who walked into the Hotel de Russie looking and sounding enough like the real thing that staff members allowed him into the gift suite, where he reportedly took a purse, a bikini, a pair of sunglasses, a cashmere sweater and a designer bra. The error was discovered a short time later, but by then the look-alike was long gone.

"We're on the lookout for someone who looks like Gerard Depardieu but who is not Gerard Depardieu," a spokesman for the Rome-based Carabinieri police said Friday.

The actor has not yet arrived in Rome, and festival officials said that when he did arrive he would have his own chance to take a few gifts from the suite.

The festival concludes Oct. 27.