French actor Gerard Depardieu is to play Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in a forthcoming movie.
The actor's press agent said December 29 that Depardieu will star as Stalin in a film adaptation of "Le Divan de Staline" (Stalin's Sofa), a 2013 novel by French author Jean-Daniel Baltassat.
The story is set in the Soviet Union of the 1950s and centers on a young artist who is commissioned to create a monument to Stalin but faces scrutiny by the KGB.
The movie will be directed by French actress and director Fanny Ardant and produced by a French-Portuguese company. Russia's state-run film studio, Mosfilm, is to provide costumes.
Depardieu, 67, was given Russian citizenship by presidential decree in 2013 after publicly criticizing France's high taxes and taking up residence abroad.
In separate interviews this year, he praised authoritarian Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka as "a nice guy" and described the United States as "a people who have constantly destroyed others."