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Busy shooting DSK film, Depardieu fails to turn up in court

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Busy shooting a film about disgraced ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Gerard Depardieu failed to turn up at a Paris hearing Friday to face a drink-driving charge, the second time he has skipped court.

The actor, who has sparked controversy recently by moving to Belgium and taking Russian citizenship amid a tax row with French authorities, had also failed to appear at a January hearing due to previous engagements on the film.

"He wanted to be present, but he couldn't, he really regrets it," his lawyer told the court Friday, adding Depardieu was currently in New York to shoot the movie by director Abel Ferrara, in which he plays Strauss-Kahn.

The 64-year-old Depardieu was detained in Paris in November after falling off his scooter, which he had been driving while more than three times over the legal alcohol limit.

He risks being fined 4,500 euros ($5,800), jailed for up to two years and given penalty points.

The "Green Card" star has been involved in much controversy since he announced in November that he was moving abroad due to a 75 percent tax rate on incomes over one million euros that President Francois Hollande's government wanted to impose.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault branded the move "pathetic" and Depardieu struck back with a series of rants against the government, including an interview with Belgian media last month in which he said France was "sad" and that French people were "fed up".

After an offer from President Vladimir Putin, Depardieu also took up Russian citizenship.

Hailed as one of the greatest actors of his generation, Depardieu has in recent years become as famed for his erratic behaviour as for his acting talents.

In August, he was cautioned after punching a car driver who had forced him to swerve on his scooter, and in 2011 he generated global headlines when he tried to urinate in a bottle aboard a plane as it prepared to take off from Paris for Dublin.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130405/busy-shooting-dsk-film-depardieu-fails-turn-court