by Kate Schmidt
Depardieu, star of more than 150 feature films, is a tax refugee most recently embraced by Russian president Vladimir V. Putin, who conferred Russian citizenship on the chevalier of the legion d'honneur over the weekend. According to a Saturday BBC report, the governor of Mordovia, the Russian region best known for its gulags, is now wooing Depardieu with the promise of an apartment in provincial Saransk.
"Preposterous!" Kim Jong-un is said to have exclaimed before countering with a Google doc promising Depardieu perquisites including the title Honorary Deputy Marshal of the People's Democratic Republic of Korea, unlimited access to the dear leader's private karaoke parlor, and a wheat field.
"It was one thing for Depardieu to offer the salute 'Glory to [Chechnyan leader Ramzan] Kadyrov,'" said one high-ranking official. "Kadyrov and Kim Jong Un are drinking buddies from way back." But the marshal is reputed to harbor a strong dislike of Putin, calling him "needle nose," "that dirty Russian has-been," and "mongrel son of a one-titted Georgian fishwife."
These are heady days for Kim Jong-un, who after dismaying world leaders with the mid-December launch of a long-range rocket, surprised onlookers with a New Year's address reaching out to South Korea and now is said to be the proud father of a newborn son and heir, his first by wife Ri Sol-ju.
Regardless, said the official, Kim is "a huge fan" of the large-nosed French thespian, particularly of his work on the live-action Asterix movies and his recent ketchup ads. In December, when Depardieu briefly took up residence in the Belgian border town of Nechin, the official added, "the dear leader immediately set out to learn the popular local chancon 'Naked and Tanned All Over' in emulation" of the actor's new neighbors.
Still in flight, neither Richardson nor Schmidt has released any formal statements, though a late-night tweet from @BigBillNM reads "Pee on my plane? I don't think so," a possible allusion to a 2011 incident aboard a taxiing Air France flight during which Depardieu declared "Je veux pisser, je veux pisser!" before urinating in the aisle.