From Asterix to Cyrano to Columbus to eskimo-kissing Putin, we explore Depardieu's eclectic filmography.
By
Jeremy Cassar

16 Dec 2016 - 2:05 PM  UPDATED 16 Dec 2016 - 2:17 PM

Depardieu is one of the screens most recognisable figures. A hulking French thespian who may well serve as a part time Viking, he has such a specific frame, face, and accent. Despite such a striking physique, we’d be hard pressed to find another performer with such range, especially considering his beyond-lengthy IMDB page.

From the highest of accolades to Razzie-worthy folly, this is one giant of a man that commands your attention, whether through drama, comedy, or just by standing in front of you.

BoN Appetit: Gerard Depardieu’s Europe debuts on SBS this week, and we can only assume Gerard is taking a sword to Europe in a final effort to conquer the region.  

The TV show is just the latest in an incredibly varied screen career:

My Father The Hero (1994)

So fantastic was the 1991 French-language original Mon père, ce héros, that not two years later production had begun on the American remake My Father The Hero.

 

While many a 12-year-old  boy (and girl) developed an long-lasting unhealthy crush on a young Katherine Heigel, it was Depardeiu’s paranoia as the father of a bombshell that entertained the pants off us.

It’s not the greatest film, but Gerard’s screwball attempts to keep tabs on his daughter bubbles along with considerable charm. 

1492: Conquest of Paradise  (1992)

Ridley Scott has a patchy filmography, but it is generally agreed upon that this Christopher Columbus bio-pic wasn’t the Blade Runner directors best offering.

Apart from Depardieu’s commanding and committed performance, the film was a misifre - attracting just 39% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Cyrano de Bergerac (1990)

Despite the fact that Depardieu had appeared in an estimated 7.2 trillion films before Jean-Paul Rappeneu’s Cyrano de Bergerac, it wasn't until his starring role in this that Depardieu’s face achieved a worldwide profile.

Voted 47th best world film of all time (by both my mother and Empire magazine), Gerald’s titular role also lead to an Academy Award Nomination for best Actor, losing out to Reversal of Fortune’s Jeremy Irons - who also beat De Niro, Costner, and the great Richard Harris.

Not bad company, Gerard. Not bad company.

Oh, it won best feature film too. Just in case that gets your (toy) swashbuckler sheathed in excitement.

Green Card (1990)

Aussie Peter Weir’s out-of-character rom-com Green Card was a surprise box office and critical success, and went to capitulate Gerard not only into a household face, but now name. Picking up another Golden Globe for the performance as a man looking for a convenient relationship who learns he wants so much more.

Last Holiday (2006)

Not only did this Queen Latifah-led reward Depardieu with a character given a highly suspect surname ‘Didler’, but they relegated him to a bit part. As charming as Gerard is, you can’t save save an unsuccessful Latifah-vehicle with a few good parts.

The surprising thing Is that famed director Wayne Wang was at the helm of this 1960 remake. Why, Wayne Wang, why?

Maîtresse (1975)

Ooh La la. One of Gerard’s first  leading roles was complete with graphic depictions of sex and sad-masochism.

The gist: Gerard tries to rob a woman’s house who just happens to have a dominatrix dungeon underneath her house (just like my great Nonna). Gerard’s Oliver then becomes embroiled in a 50-shades-of-they-wish psycho-sexual head-fudge for the remainder of the film.

Headed by the legend thriller director Barbet Schroeder, the director also known for Reversal of Fortune (1990), Single White Female (1992), and Desperate Measures (1998), Maîtresse was infamous on release for being refused classification in the UK and slapped with an X rating in the US.

Gerard Depardieu charms his way across Europe in Bon Appetite:Gerard Depardieu's Europe, airing on SBS every Saturday night at 6pm.

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