Gérard Depardieu's efforts to revive the grand old days of the Dual Alliance continued this week, as the actor signed on to play Josef Stalin in Fanny Ardant's adaptation of the novel Le Divan de Staline (Stalin's Sofa), which tells the story of an artist commissioned to create a monument to Stalin during the paranoia of the dictator's final years. Depardieu's love of Russian autocrats is well known: In 2013, he accepted a personal gift of Russian citizenship from Vladimir Putin, and promptly became a prominent defender of Putin's government. (As he told the press at Cannes this year, "I know Mr. Putin well; I like him a lot.") It's unclear what type of angle the film — which is being produced by a French studio — will take on Stalin, but Putin himself appears to be embracing the memory of the Soviet dictator and papering over his regime's worst atrocities.
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