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, adding that he doesn't much like French people.

"/> 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, adding that he doesn't much like French people.

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RYANAIR

Depardieu: I don’t like ‘arrogant’ French

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, adding that he doesn't much like French people.

Depardieu: I don't like 'arrogant' French
WTO / Thore Siebrands

“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 loveable. 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.

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RYANAIR

Ryanair demands that Air France give up French airport slots in exchange for state aid

Budget airline Ryanair urged on Wednesday that Air France be forced to give up lucrative French airport slots if it receives more state aid.

Ryanair demands that Air France give up French airport slots in exchange for state aid
Could Air France be forced to give up airport slots if it accepts more aid from the French state? Photo: AFP

Paris is in talks with European Union officials on the delicate issue of state aid to the French flagship carrier, which has already received substantial help from the government.

“Should yet another enormous and illegal state aid bailout occur, then effective remedies must be applied to ensure fair competition in the French market and to protect the interests of the French consumer / visitor,” a Ryanair statement said.

The low-cost airline is based in Ireland and regularly underscores the amount of money being allocated to keep struggling rivals in the air.

In exchange for more aid, Air France must be prepared to give up “a substantial number of its take-off and landing slots at key French airports including Paris Charles De Gaulle, Paris Orly and Lyon,” Ryanair argued.

French officials and the European Commission are currently discussing the terms of a further recapitalisation of the Air France-KLM group, which has suffered from the Covid-19 crisis.

EU officials have already indicated that in exchange for their approval, Air France should give up coveted slots at Paris' Orly airport, which is essentially saturated now.

Air France on the other hand has indicated that such a move posed a serious threat because it was counting on Orly operations to help it rebound from the crisis.

French officials want to avoid putting Air France, which was struggling even before the pandemic, at a competitive disadvantage.

Ryanair urged EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager to “stand firm in her discussions with the French government.

“Either Air France gets no state aid or proper remedies should be put in place to ensure a fair and level playing field for all airlines,” it insisted.

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