Depardieu to Star in Sochi Olympics Comedy

French actor Gerard Depardieu, who was granted Russian citizenship earlier this year, will star in a low-budget comedy set during the Sochi 2014 Olympics, production company Stella told RIA Novosti on Thursday. In the movie, tentatively titled "Sports Without Borders," Depardieu plays the director of Russia’s men’s alpine ski team, who, in a controversial move, fires his entire coaching staff and hires an eccentric Austrian replacement. Austrian television director Otto Retzer and Russian Alexander Lomakin will direct the Russian-Austrian co-production, which does not yet have a release date. The budget has been set at 3 million euros ($4 million). Depardieu received a Russian passport in January on the order of President Vladimir Putin after leaving France in protest of a proposed 75 percent tax on wealthy residents. Since making the switch, he has since acquired a considerable dose of celebrity in Russia's film industry. He is currently starring as the 19th-century tsarist Svengali Rasputin in an eponymous French-Russian film playing at this year’s Moscow International Film Festival. Last month, he appeared alongside controversial Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on a promotional tour of the region, where he is filming a revenge thriller called "Turquoise" with British actress Elizabeth Hurley.

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