Culture Magazine

Gérard Depadieu and a Tallish Tale of Drinking

By Colin Randall @salutsunderland

Dragging myself away from the televised press conference by François Hollande was not too hard to do. Very Frenchly, there was long speech from him, then early questions that also sounded like speeches followed by more long speeches in the president's replies. So let us consider instead that elderly hell-raiser Gérard Depardieu's drinking habits ...

A few years ago, Gérard Depardieu said he used to drink four or five bottles of wine a day but had cut down.

Now, we hear what one man means by cutting down: he talks of downing up to 14. The count seems to include a full bottle of pastis, a fair amount of champagne and some vodka or whisky or both. But who's to know for sure?

In fact, who is to know for sure that old Cyrano de Bergerac, his acclaimed character in the 1990 film, is telling the truth at all, now or when he boasted about a more modest but still gigantic daily intake of booze?

I do not doubt that he gets through a lot. Even his consumption before mid-morning would make most us who enjoy a tipple seem like dull models of abstinence.

But I also do not doubt that any human being who sank as much as Depardieu claims - "I can’t drink like a normal person," he told So Film magazine. "I can absorb 12, 13, 14 bottles per day" - would struggle to last out a month. This is a man of 65 who, 15 years ago, had quintuple heart bypass surgery.

Think back to one of his brushes with the law, in 2012, when he fell tipsily from his scooter. His blood-alcohol level of 1.8 grams per litre was more than three times the upper Frnech limit but would surely have been a great deal higher still; had he been in the sort of wine-drinking mood he describes.

And his vineyard in Médoc would presumably run out of wine within weeks of its entire output being bottled. Would he even bother to have it bottled? It would be a silly waste of time.

Methinks there's just a hint of playing to the gallery, an old rogue having fun a expense of gullible journalists.

But for the sake of completeness, here is Depardieu wine and spirits menu du jour, as quoted ...

"In the morning, it starts at home with champagne or red wine before 10am, then again champagne." Then it's time for pastis to break up all that wine imbibing.

Lunch comes along and so do a couple of bottles of wine to wash it down.

"In the afternoon, champagne, beer and more pastis at around 5pm, to finish off the bottle. Later on, vodka and/or whisky. But I’m never totally drunk, just a little p*****d. All you need is a 10-minute nap and voila, a slurp of rose wine and I feel as fresh as a daisy.'Anyway, I’m not going to die. Not now. I still have energy."

Cheers anyone?

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