Depardieu to play 'smug' Strauss-Kahn

French actor Gerard Depardieu said on Thursday he would play the "arrogant, smug" former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a film about his fall from grace in a series of sex scandals.

"I will do it, because I don't like him," said Depardieu, best known for his larger-than-life swashbuckling roles like warrior poet Cyrano de Bergerac or comic book hero Asterix's huge sidekick Obelix.

"He's not lovable. I think he's a bit like all the French, a bit arrogant. I don't much like the French in any case," he told Swiss television. "He's very French: arrogant, smug. He's playable."

Strauss-Kahn had been the favourite to win next month's French presidential election until May last year, when the former Socialist minister was arrested in New York and accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid.

The US case fell apart over doubts about the alleged victim's testimony, but since his return to France he has been implicated in a series of further scandals and is under investigation for alleged ties to a vice ring.

Asked about the "impulses" that drive Strauss-Kahn's behaviour, Depardieu said it was not these that disgusted him, but his general attitude.

"It's the way he walks, with one hand in his pocket. We can all have filthy thoughts, and it's well known that these guys with huge power, money, the IMF or top judicial officials can be like that," he said.

Depardieu said he would not try to inhabit the role of Strauss-Kahn too deeply, as he had "never been much moved by people who have no dignity."

In August last year Depardieu gave his own dignity a knock when he urinated in the aisle of a passenger plane after a stewardess had refused to allow him to go to the toilet, but he remains one of France's best-loved stars.

He is a strong supporter of right-wing President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is standing for re-election next month and would probably have faced a tough challenge from 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn if the Socialist had not been arrested.

Depardieu appeared at a Sarkozy election rally on Sunday and told reporters that the president "only does good".

US director Abel Ferrara has announced that he plans to film a Strauss-Kahn movie in the next few months, featuring Depardieu as the fallen IMF boss and Isabelle Adjani as his loyal wife Anne Sinclair.

Strauss-Kahn is due to appear before magistrates in the northern French city of Lille later this month and is expected to be charged with offences linked to his alleged involvement in a vice ring that procured escorts for orgies.

  • Wednesday #sgroundup: Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia 1 hour 40 minutes ago
    Wednesday #sgroundup: Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Here are today’s top trending stories in case you missed them.

  • The Lotus breadvan: Flickr photo of the day 15 hours ago
    The Lotus breadvan: Flickr photo of the day

    The Lotus Europa was one of the stranger sports cars of the '70s, but still managed to corner like a sheepdog thanks to its low weight and fiberglass body. This example caught by Dave Lindsay is fairly typical of the nicer early '70s Type 62 Europas Lotus exported to the United States; by today's standards they're odd, underpowered and unreliable — which means they have a fervent fan base.

  • Inside MotoGP, elbow on asphalt at 210 mph 16 hours ago
    Inside MotoGP, elbow on asphalt at 210 mph

    In MotoGP, a most strange sport, compact, highly fit men, most of them Spanish, Italian, Japanese, or Australian, maneuver 350-lb., multimillion-dollar motorcycles around Formula One tracks at 220 mph while wearing computerized suits that inflate when they fall off at speed. It feels as though you’re watching Tron live, and the crashes are just as spectacular. Driving these things requires a lot of nerve, as well as generous levels of Euro-style machismo. The riders of MotoGP can’t walk down the street in Barcelona or Milan without being followed by screaming fans. They’re like some sort of unholy marriage between Daft Punk and Apollo astronauts. In the United States, they’re just guys walking down the street.

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • Fresh wave of Hello Kitty mania to descend on McDonald’s outlets in Singapore
    Fresh wave of Hello Kitty mania to descend on McDonald’s outlets in Singapore

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.