Gérard Depardieu was born and raised in Châteauroux, Indre, France.
Catholicism is a pretty big deal in France,1 so one would assume that Depardieu associated with that religion, at least to a small degree, in his youth. And apparently at least a few others agree with me.2 But still, he doesn’t strike me as a terribly devout man.
He doesn’t talk about religion much. I couldn’t find any interview where he mentioned God or prayer. Nor does he appear to wear a crucifix or go to church. Still, he met Pope John Paul II and was quite taken by the holy man. After the Pope said Depardieu reminded him of St. Augustine, the actor vowed to give readings of the saint’s texts. He said,
I will read in the squares and in sacred places, in churches and synagogues, carrying with me only four candles. It will not be a performance but a way of enriching the faithful worldwide.3
Plus he compared his favorite politician, Vladimir Putin, to Pope John Paul, despite the fact that the two of them may have had some disagreements about the role of the Soviet Union in world history.4 But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First we’ll just say that Depardieu is Catholic, degree of devotion unknown.
French Politics is Insane
Despite the fact that Depardieu claimed that “all politicians are shit,”5 he’s been involved in the politics of France for many decades–swinging from left to right. He supported Socialist President François Mitterrand in 1987. In 2002 he donated a large sum to the Communist Party. And that same year he called the conservative future President Nicolas Sarkozy “the only capable politician.” He also particularly disliked Socialist Dominique Strauss-Kahn.6 So. . . he’s all over the place.
More recently, he made some waves in the press by moving out of his home country, first to Belgium and finally to Russia where he was granted citizenship. Although many suspect he fled the impending 75% income tax on the super-weathly, Depardieu claims he left for other reasons, although he’s not a fan of the taxes either. He said,
France is sad, and I think the French are fed up. The lack of conviction. . . . It seems that the government doesn’t know how to do its job.7
Regardless of how he felt in the past, he is clearly not currently a fan of the welfare state. In announcing his disagreement with French protests against a raise in the retirement age, he said,
In France, you have Social Security. When you don’t work they pay you. If you go to see the doctor and open your mouth, 15 days off, paid. This is not normal. . . . You have young boys at 15 years old given money, and they stay at home until 35 or 40 years old. I left home at 12 years old. This is insane.8
Regardless of his past political activity, that’s a fairly conservative sentiment, so Depardieu will remain one in our books. Disagree? Let us know in the comments!
- Religion in France. Kwintessential. [↩]
- Catholic Movie Stars. Sunday School Cinema. [↩]
- Pope remark inspires Gerard Depardieu to follow St Augustine. Catholic News. [↩]
- Gerard Depardieu compares Vladimir Putin to Pope John Paul II. Telegraph. [↩]
- Gérard Depardieu cast in lead role as celebrities line up behind Sarkozy. The Observer. [↩]
- Gerard Depardieu cast in lead role as celebrities line up behind Sarkozy. The Guardian. [↩]
- Actor Gerard Depardieu denies he fled France over taxes. Washington Times. [↩]
- Gerard Depardieu denounces French strikers. The National. [↩]