Gérard Depardieu Gérard Depardieu

Here’s a nugget of news that came out of left field, yet somehow makes perfect sense. Gérard Depardieu, the larger-than-life French actor, will be a character in an adult animated series that will tell anecdotes from his life. Depardieu, who came up with the idea for the show, will voice his animated self.

Depardieu seul le sait! (Depardieu Only Knows!) was announced by French studio Toon Factory, which will produce the series. It promises that the tone of the show will be “sincere and funny, at times poetic.” Depardieu will be drawn by Mathieu Sapin, an illustrator whose 2017 graphic novel Gérard: Five Years with Depardieu recounts his travels with the actor.

Depardieu Only Knows!, which has just entered development, will consist of 52 x 3-minute episodes. There will also be a number of special episodes directed by “other big names” from the bande dessinée (or comics) world. Thierry Berthier, ceo and co-founder of Toon Factory, commented on the series:

With Depardieu Only Knows!, we’re going to give you an unfiltered, uncompromising vision of the world as Gérard sees it. This nonconformist man will reveal himself, bare himself, with his iconoclastic personality and frankness, his qualities and faults, his enthusiasm and regrets.

Depardieu is arguably the most famous French actor of his generation, with a career that has spanned half a century and reached Hollywood. His performance in Cyrano de Bergerac earned him an Oscar nomination, and he has been nominated 17 times for best actor at the Césars (France’s Oscars), winning twice. He played Obélix in four live-action Astérix films, and his English-language filmography includes Peter Weir’s Green Card, Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet, and Ang Lee’s Life of Pi.

In recent years, however, the actor’s career has been flecked with controversy. He lost much goodwill in his homeland when he renounced his French passport in 2012, citing excessive taxes, and took up Russian citizenship on Vladimir Putin’s invitation. Other scandals include an incident in which he publicly urinated on a plane, and an investigation into rape allegations that was eventually dropped.

Image at top: detail from the cover of “Gérard: Five Years with Depardieu.” © Mathieu Sapin / Dargaud

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