French actor Gerard Depardieu could soon be in line for a somewhat different off-screen role as head of an advisory board to help develop and promote Crimean wine.
Depardieu, who obtained Russian citizenship in January 2013, has been earmarked to lead a committee devoted to developing vineyards in the Crimea, which was annexed from Ukraine by Russia in March, Izvestia reported Monday.
Igor Zotov, head of the Russian Pensioners for Justice party, suggested that Depardieu, a known wine connoisseur, could lead a team tasked with maximizing the potential of the land on the Black Sea peninsula, the newspaper reported, citing a copy of the letter sent to the region's head, Sergei Aksyonov.
"Today, Gerard is not only a symbol of French cinema and French charm, but also a symbol of the breadth of the Russian soul. It would be good for the region if Gerard Depardieu, a world-renowned expert in the field of winemaking, headed the state structure: a committee or social structure of Crimean winemakers," Zotov was quoted by Izvestia as saying in the letter.
Depardieu, who owns several vineyards across Europe, became a Russian citizen following a tax dispute with the authorities in his native France. He has yet to comment on the latest offer, Izvestia reported.