Gerard Depardieu showed up drunk to a remembrance ceremony for the heroes of World War I in Belgium Sunday night, where he turned a solemn poetry reading into a profanity-laced farce, enraging some in the crowd — but amusing others.
Depardieu, an icon of the French movie industry whose intense acting style earned him accolades in his 1970s and 80s prime as the Robert De Niro of France, was scheduled to read poems by Monique Andrée Serf, a French Holocaust survivor who became a famous singer and poet under the pseudonym “Barbara.”
The legendary actor — and larger-than-life off-screen personality — was also supped to read a poem by his own son, Guillaume, who passed away due to illness six years ago.
Instead, Depardieu showed up at the historic Maison de la Radio in Brussells and began waving his hands wildly, swearing in French. While his inebriated antics produced smatterings of laughter and applause throughout the crowd, many in the assembly were simply repelled and shocked as the star of such 1970s French classics as The Return of Martin Guerre and Going Places launched into an incoherent tirade against politicians.
“Stop Gerard! But I do nothing, I am doing nothing. I am not a politician,” he rambled. ‘They are s***, they are s***! I am going to finish with a Flemish poet who is extraordinary.”
“Gerard Depardieu was visibly drunk to say the least. He started off by finding it difficult to find words of welcome,” one attendee described in the Belgian media. “Then, he read the same sentence once, twice, and then three times! Then he left the text that he was reading to digress on to the subject of politics in Belgium. Then, a little later, he asked what page he was on.”
Episodes of being drunk in public are not a new phenomenon for the 65-year-old Gerard Depardieu, who last year was removed from an Air France plane when he protested against a flight attendant who would not let him use the restroom during takeoff by relieving himself in the plane’s aisle.
A companion blamed that incident on Depardieu’s prostate condition, claiming the actor was not drunk.
But Depardieu himself claimed in an interview just three months ago that he consumes up to 14 bottles of wine every day — and the alcohol does not even leave him “totally drunk,” he claimed.
But a drunk Gerard Depardieu had to be stopped a half-hour into his scheduled reading Sunday, as event organizers attempted to minimize the fallout from the fiasco.