PARIS French movie giant Gerard Depardieu likes conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy just as he liked Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Pope John Paul II and left-wing leader Francois Mitterrand in their day, he told Swiss broadcaster RTS.
In an interview posted on RTS' website, the outspoken actor also said that he disliked the man he was set to incarnate in a film, disgraced former IMF head and one-time French presidential hopeful Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and that this was why he would take the role.
Asked about Sarkozy, Depardieu said during an occasionally rambling interview: "People are going to tell you that I like dictators but no. I really liked Fidel Castro, just as I really liked John Paul II, just as I really liked Francois Mitterrand. Because they came at a precise moment ... I really like Sarkozy."
The French president is currently tipped in opinion polls of voter plans to lose to Socialist candidate Francois Hollande in the presidential runoff vote on May 6.
Depardieu turned up to support him at a major campaign rally last Sunday, taking a front-row seat beside Sarkozy's wife, the singer and former model Carla Bruni. In a semi-breathless speech, Depardieu said his "new friend" was a leader who did nothing but good but of whom nothing good was said.
Asked by the Swiss broadcaster if he was preparing for a movie role as Strauss-Kahn, whose globetrotting IMF career and presidential ambitions ended when he was arrested in New York on now-dropped sex assault charges last year, Depardieu said he found Strauss-Kahn "arrogant" and "self-satisfied."
He added, "Yes, because I don't like him I'm going to do it."
When his interviewer asked him if he believed he himself was normal, he said, "No, I'm a bit monstrous".
The acclaimed actor, famous for his roles in films such as "Jean de Florette" and "Green Card," outraged fellow travelers last summer by urinating in the aisle of an Air France flight.
A passenger said Depardieu appeared to be drunk at the time and had insisted he be allowed to use the bathroom during takeoff when passengers are obliged to remain seated.
(Reporting By Brian Love; editing by Patricia Reaney)