French actor and Russian citizen Gerard Depardieu will star in the Russian-Austrian comedy Sport bez granits (Sport Without Frontiers), centered on the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Depardieu will play Sergei Romanov, the head of Russia's men's alpine ski team who has to deal with all kinds of problems as the Olympics are approaching, television network Vesti reported. As the team's form is far from ideal and it is likely to do badly at the upcoming tournament, Romanov makes a bold move, firing all the coaches and hiring an Austrian coach known for his unconventional training methods.
The movie, with a $3.5 million budget and planned for a theatrical release, is to be directed by Russia's Alexander Lomakin and Austrian veteran actor and director Otto Retzer.
Although preparations for the Sochi Olympics were marred by corruption and Russia ran a risk of failing to complete Olympic venues on time, the plot of the comedy appears to be innocuous and is unlikely to put Depardieu's relationship with the Kremlin at risk.
Since Depardieu was granted Russian citizenship by president Vladimir Putin's decree in January 2013, he has been cast in several local projects, including a TV series based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky's classic 1879 novel, The Brothers Karamazov.