In the last three days, Gerard Depardieu met with Vladimir Putin to get Russian citizenship, got a prime seat at soccer’s biggest annual gala in Switzerland and dashed off to Montenegro to eye some real estate.
But in all this whirlwind travel, he didn’t manage to show up at a Paris court hearing Tuesday to face drunken driving charges because, his lawyer said, he had a vital meeting abroad for an upcoming film. The 64-year-old French actor was in Montenegro meeting with the prime minister, it turns out.
The lawyer insisted that Depardieu wasn’t trying to dodge justice. Still, the hearing on a relatively minor charge was elevated to criminal court.
Depardieu’s battles against the French government and French justice began nearly at the same time. In November, he fell off his scooter in Paris and was charged with drunken driving. The following week, the mayor of a Belgian border town announced that the man whose roles in 150 films have all but defined French drama had set up house there to avoid rising French taxes.
The prime minister’s new epithet for Depardieu – “pathetic” – set the actor off again. In an open letter in mid-December, Depardieu said the country he loved was no longer home to him.
Bowie has birthday gift for fans
David Bowie is celebrating his birthday by releasing new music. The English singer announced Tuesday, his 66th birthday, that he has released his first song in 10 years titled “Where Are We Now?”
A new album, “The Next Day,” will be out March 11 and 12 in the United Kingdom and the United States, respectively.
The slow groove was released on iTunes and in 119 countries. It was produced by longtime collaborator Tony Visconti.
Bowie’s last album was 2003’s “Reality.”
The birthday bunch
Author Judith Krantz is 85. Sportscaster Dick Enberg is 78. Folk singer Joan Baez is 72. Rock musician Jimmy Page is 69. Singer David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter) is 63. Singer Crystal Gayle is 62. Actor J.K. Simmons is 58. Rock musician Eric Erlandson is 50. Actress Joely Richardson is 48. Rock singer Steve Harwell (Smash Mouth) is 46. Rock singer-musician Dave Matthews is 46. Singer A.J. McLean (Backstreet Boys) is 35. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is 31. Actress Nina Dobrev is 24.