After sashaying to a folk dance with a dictator in Russia's North Caucasus, French cinema legend Gérard Depardieu may next appear in Azerbaijan for a film . . . and, perhaps, more dancing.
The larger-than-life French actor, who often goes on junkets to ex-Soviet spots these days, plans a “big movie” about sports in the young republic of Azerbaijan, said French film producer Arnau Frille, Russian and Azerbaijani media report.
Storyline details are not known, but, no doubt, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, head of Azerbaijan's 2015 European Olympics preparation committee, and President Ilham Aliyev, head of its Olympics committee, could make a few suggestions.
The actor, who quit France for Russia after becoming mesmerized by the Russian soul and Russian President Vladimir Putin, plans movies also in Chechnya and Central Asia, apart from Azerbaijan. In January, he enjoyed a cameo appearance in a music video by Googoosha, otherwise known as Gulnara Karimova, daughter of Uzbekistan's less-than-liberal President Islam Karimov.
Nor is it the first time Depardieu stars in a film set in Azerbaijan. Last fall, he
acted in an Azerbaijani documentary about 19th century French novelist
Alexandre Dumas’s travels in Azerbaijan, intended as "good propaganda" for the country, "particularly" in France, where Azerbaijan already has a hefty PR campaign afoot .
With all this availability, and talent, too, little doubt that Depardieu could soon be a regularly featured entertainer in a variety of cash-rich, ex-Soviet locations.
In each place, he is likely to find eager, authoritarian hosts and ample dancing opportunities.