French-born actor Gerard Depardieu seemingly has no plans to return to live in his former home country.
In an interview for the June issue of Vanity Fair, the award-winning actor and former French citizen said he is “prepared to die” for his new home country of Russia.
“I am prepared to die for Russia because the people there are strong,” Newsweek quoted the actor as saying. “I absolutely do not want to die in the France of today like an idiot.”
Depardieu, 66, who has won awards for roles in films like Cyrano de Bergerac and The Last Metro, renounced his French citizenship in 2013 after President Francois Hollande detailed plans to raise the tax rate on those earning over €1 million ($1.3 million) to 75%.
After relocating to Belgium for a short time, the actor received Russian citizenship in 2013. According to the Wall Street Journal, Depardieu dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the leader’s home in Sochi shortly after receiving his passport. The paper reported that Depardieu’s defection represented a major “propaganda coup” for Russia, which has a flat tax rate of 13%.
Depardieu has kept busy since his arrival in Russia; according to the Moscow Times, the actor has starred in Russian sitcom Zaitsev+1, and collaborated with luxury watchmaker Cvstos on a “Proud to be Russian” product line.
Depardieu reportedly told Vanity Fair that his home country doesn’t “share the values” he grew up with.
“I don’t believe in myself because I don’t share the values I was raised on,” the actor said, according to the Times. “I don’t feel French.”
Deadline reports that Depardieu may return to France as a guest in the near future; the actor is reportedly in talks with Netflix to play the lead role in the French-language version of its popular House of Cards series. Depardieu would play the Kevin Spacey role in the eight-episode series Marseille.