Depardieu 'building house outside Moscow': official
MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
French actor Gerard Depardieu speaks during a joint press conference with Montenegro's Prime Minister, Milo Djukanovic (unseen) in Podgorica, Montenegro, 08 January 2013. EPA Photo
Gerard Depardieu, the French actor who received a Russian passport this month, has bought a plot of land outside Moscow and is building a wooden house, a top Russian film official said in an interview published Friday.
The star of "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Green Card" was so taken with the Russian countryside that he bought the land even before Russian President Vladimir Putin handed him a passport this month, said Nikolai Borodachev, general director of the state film archive Gosfilmofond.
Depardieu bought the plot in the village of Beliye Stolby which also houses Gosfilmofond's vast archive, Borodachev told popular daily Komsomolskaya Pravda.
"When he saw our countryside -- birch trees and a pond with wild ducks and river rats swimming and where you can go fishing -- he decided to settle down here," Borodachev said.
"Gerard himself chose the plot. And he asked me to start building a large, beautiful house that has to be made of wood. We've already laid the groundwork and put up a guest house where Gerard will live temporarily." The former Oscar nominee has also grown to love Russian cuisine, Borodachev added.
The tabloid described the village as a gated settlement with guard dogs and with a farm that provides food for residents.
The 64-year-old actor threatened to give up his French citizenship after Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault branded him "pathetic" for announcing plans to become a tax exile in Belgium to avoid paying a temporary 75 percent tax on incomes above one million euros ($1.3 million). During his visit to Russia earlier this month, Depardieu was feted as a hero and also invited to build a house in Saransk, the capital of Mordovia, a region famous for its punishing climate and network of Soviet-era labour camps.
"So far this is just being discussed," Borodachev was quoted as saying. "If Depardieu expresses a desire to live there, he will be given a present of a house near Saransk next to a pond so that he could fish there."