Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has allocated US$2 million to give to the budget of Normandie-Niemen, a Russian-French-Belarusian co-production starring French actor Gerard Depardieu.
Nikolai Borodachyov, general director of Russia’s National Film Foundation, Gosfilmofond, told Russian newspaper Izvestia that the Belarusian president’s decision to fund the project came immediately after Mr Depardieu’s visit to the country in July.
“He immediately summoned his Finance Minister and ordered that the money be allocated to the project,” said Mr Borodachyov.
He also noted that Mr Depardieu will play only a secondary role in the film.
Normandie-Niemen will recount the story of the French Normandie-Niemen regiment that fought on the eastern front during the Second World War alongside the Soviet Red Army.
Mr Depardieu was granted Russian citizenship in 2013 by Russian President Vladimir Putin and has reportedly become friends with the Russian and Belarusian leaders, even being seen receiving a lesson in hand-scything from Mr Lukashenko.
Source: Izvestia (in Russian)