Dhe reality and judicial inquiries have caught up with literary fiction. At the Paris location of Patrice Leconte’s new film, inspired by the novel “Maigret and the Young Dead” by Georges Simenon, Gérard Depardieu, who slips into the role of the famous commissioner for the first time, appears completely relaxed.
Everything is also quiet in the office on the Quai des Orfèvres, which was faithfully recreated by the set designers. And yet, he confesses on the phone, he feels “sad and stunned by a completely unjustified story and the huge media hype that this investigation has sparked, which I thought was already over.”
When news leaked Tuesday that the Paris prosecutor’s investigations into the rape and sexual assault of a 20-year-old girl (a crime he allegedly committed in 2018) had now been reopened by an examining magistrate, the actor got even deeper into his role of Maigret withdrawn and also in his silence.
He sent a letter to his lawyer, Hervé Témime, in which he expressed his disbelief at the disputed matter and his pain at the way in which information and the court case had been leaked to the public. Nevertheless, he agreed to this conversation during a break from filming.
WORLD: Mr Depardieu, how did you react to the news that the investigation against you was restarted?
Gérard Depardieu: For me, this investigation was already over, I am innocent and have nothing to fear. For this reason, I was always very relaxed, knowing that all of these allegations are completely unfounded. Nevertheless, I was prepared and knew about this possibility of a resumption, which I now look forward to without fear and with confidence in the judiciary.
There is no evidence whatsoever, they have nothing against me, and that’s why I’m really quite unconcerned. All I can do is reject the allegations in the strictest terms, as I have already done to the investigators, on all counts.
WORLD: Now all over the world it is being talked about again. What do you make of it?
Depardieu: I find the mediatization of the case terrible. But we live in a time that is determined by a constant and ruthless flow of information that literally floods the networks. With all of these streaming channels, new media, the internet, and social media, it’s like we’re living with headphones that constantly transmit negative or even false and biased messages. I hate all of this.
WORLD: What steps are you going to take now?
Depardieu: My lawyer has been impeccable so far. I myself am still completely perplexed that the decision was made to resume the investigation, given the fact that it had already been closed due to a lack of evidence. I will appear in court on March 10th and then have the opportunity to repeat what I have already testified to assert my innocence. I trust in justice.
WORLD: However, the allegations against you are very serious.
Depardieu: I prefer not to talk about the young actress she brought up against me here. Five years ago I wrote a book called “Innocent” in which I talked about myself. I am someone who trusts life and other people, I am not a suspicious person, but that’s the best way to get angry. I can’t do anything about that. But I’m really calm.
WORLD: What is “your” Maigret feeling at this moment?
Depardieu: Maigret is a wonderful character and I put myself deeply in his loneliness and inner peace. I comfort myself by holding on to him and hugging him tightly inside. For a long time I only imagined him as a policeman, but he is only human and quite extraordinary in his humanity. He likes to feel alive and to listen to others, but he also knows how to withdraw into silence, to this quiet and calm place where you can neither hear noise nor screams.
Aus deTranslated in Italian by Bettina Schneider.