20 March 2012
Gerard Depardieu cast in lead role as celebrities line up behind Sarkozy (Celebrities news headlines)
Gérard Depardieu cast in lead role as celebrities line up behind Sarkozy
The Guardian reported
Nicolas Sarkozy's familiarity with "bling" culture may have become a turn-off for many French voters ahead of next month's presidential election, but at least it has ensured him a good celebrity turnout on polling day.
The incumbent president's first national re-election rally last week was graced with the presence of a host of French A-listers, led by Gérard Depardieu, who took to the stage to eulogise Sarkozy. Sitting alongside the actor in the front seats – alongside Sarkozy's wife, supermodel-turned-singer Carla Bruni – were actress Emmanuelle Seigner, the wife of film director Roman Polanski; actor Christian Clavier; writer Jean d'Ormesson; and singer Enrico Macias. Veteran crooner Johnny Hallyday, who provokes hero worship in France, is also reported to support Sarkozy.
In another part of town, the campaign team of socialist candidate François Hollande were dutifully adding rather more modest names to the list of their candidate's glamorous backers. Sophie Arthur, Olivier Magny, Dominique Blanc, Jacques Weber, Marie L Tenenbaum, Axel Kahn, Jean-Pierre Azéma … the list goes on. Actors, actresses, scientists, writers, sports personalities – all admirable, but not quite in Depardieu's class and barely known outside France. If the presidential election was being decided on a celebrity count, Hollande would probably have lost the lead he has held in the polls for the past three months.
Depardieu, 63, has admitted that his support is a case of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours", saying that Sarkozy has helped him out significantly in the past. "Every time I ask Sarko to do something, he has responded straight away," Depardieu told the satirical magazine Le Canard Enchaîné. "When I had problems with one of my foreign businesses, he did everything he could to solve the problem straight away."
The actor added: "When I call him, he calls me back within a quarter of an hour. He's the president of the republic, I'm just an actor, and he rings me straight away. He's extraordinary."
Depardieu, who famously said "all politicians are shit", is by some distance France's best-known actor. That he has decided to throw his considerable weight behind Sarkozy is a coup for the president, even if the actor told journalists that he likes the French leader just as he liked Fidel Castro, Pope John Paul II and former socialist president François Mitterrand.
A notorious bon vivant who caused outrage last August when he tried to urinate into a bottle on a Paris to Dublin flight, the actor may be what Le Figaro politely described as a "political chameleon", having supported Mitterrand in 1987. But with just over a month to go to the first round of voting and still trailing in most polls, Sarkozy appears to have decided he needs all the stardust he can get.
Hollande can at least claim some glamorous backing from the worlds of sport and fashion. He can apparently count on the support of tennis star turned singer Yannick Noah – regularly voted France's most popular celebrity – as well as haute couture designer Christian Lacroix. Several actors, including Jamel Debbouze, who starred in the hit film The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain, have also got on board.
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