Veteran actor Gérard Depardieu is set to play Russian dictator Joseph Stalin in Le Divan De Staline, based on the well-received 2014 book by Jean-Daniel Baltassat. The casting is particularly significant given that Depardieu renounced his French papers in late 2012 and a few weeks later was granted Russian citizenship by the country’s current leader, Vladimir Putin.
Le Divan De Staline producer Paolo Branco confirmed Depardieu’s casting in the film which will begin shooting Monday in Portugal. French actress and sometime-director Fanny Ardant is helming.
The story is set on the Black Sea where a young painter is called to create a fresco in Stalin’s honor and learns far more about the Russian leader than bargained for. Newcomer Paul Hamy plays the artist, while Emmanuelle Seigner (Venus In Fur, The Diving Bell And The Butterfly) also stars.
The prolific Branco calls the film a story about the relationship between art and power. His Alfama Films is producing with Leopardo Filmes, and Alfama has international sales. Given the timing, this one should land on the festival circuit next year.