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Depardieu cast in role of Strauss-Kahn in new biopic

Gerard Depardieu is to play Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a Hollywood biopic about the scandal that destroyed the economist's hopes of winning the French presidency.

The film will be made by Abel Ferrara, the controversial US director behind Bad Lieutenant, who described Depardieu as the ideal actor for the part. Filming is expected to start this summer.

"It will be a film about sex and politics, and Gerard Depardieu will be perfect for the role," Ferrara told Le Monde. It will be filmed in Paris, New York and Washington.

Strauss-Kahn was forced to resign as head of the International Monetary Fund when he was accused last May of raping a hotel chambermaid in New York. He was charged with sexual assault but US prosecutors eventually dropped the case.

Strauss-Kahn was also accused by Tristane Banon, a French journalist, of trying to sexually assault her in 2003. She has been told she made the complain too late for criminal action to be taken but a civil suit has yet to be ruled out.

Ferrara has long been rumoured to be planning a film about Strauss-Kahn. He also revealed that Strauss-Kahn's wife, the heiress Anne Sinclair who stood by her husband, is to be played by the French actress Isabelle Adjani. It remains unclear who will take the role of Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid.

Much of Ferrara's previous work has focussed on dark or seedy themes, including Bad Lieutenant, in which Harvey Keitel played a corrupt policeman. His other films include The Driller Killer, 9 Lives of a Wet Pussy, Body Snatchers and Snake Eyes.

Depardieu did not comment on being cast as Strauss-Kahn, but told Le Journal Du Dimanche: "I'm very good at playing characters that I don't like or those that I don't resemble."