Oscar-Nominated French Actor Gérard Depardieu Charged With Rape
French actor Gérard Depardieu has been charged with rape and sexual assault allegedly committed in 2018 against an actress in her 20s.
A first probe of the rape accusations against Depardieu, 72, was dropped for lack of evidence but later reopened, leading to criminal charges filed in December, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday.
The French actor was initially accused of assaulting and raping an actress in her 20s at his Paris home in August 2018.
A probe into the allegations was dropped in 2019 but the actress relaunched proceedings, Paris prosecutors said last year.
Depardieu’s lawyer, Herve Temime, told AFP that the actor, who is free but under judicial supervision, “completely rejects the accusations”.
Some reports have suggested Depardieu and the actress were rehearsing a scene of a theatre play, but the source said “there was nothing professional about the encounter”. The woman’s lawyer, Elodie Tuaillon-Hibon, said that she hoped her client’s “private sphere will be respected” as the case unfolds.
Described as a controversial and larger-than-life character, Depardieu became the face of French cinema due to roles in films such as Cyrano de Bergerac, Jean de Florette and Camille Claudel.
He has also had a successful international career, having made more than 180 films, working among others with Peter Weir in Green Card and with Ridley Scott in 1492.
The preliminary investigation was opened on August 27, 2018, after the young woman filed a complaint near the southern city of Aix-en-Provence for rape and sexual aggression against the star.
It was then passed on to officers in Paris but the probe was dropped after nine months in early 2019 after investigators failed to gather enough proof to proceed to formal charges.
At the time, Depardieu’s lawyer, Herve Temime, said the actor “absolutely denies any rape, any sexual assault, any crime’ and dismissed the complaint as ‘groundless.”
The young woman relaunched proceedings by acting as an “injured party” – which under French law almost always leads to a case being examined by an investigating magistrate.
Depardieu is best known for his roles in Cyrano de Bergerac and The Last Metro. He has also appeared in American films including Green Card, The Man in the Iron Mask and 102.