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Depardieu back to work after bypass

Surgery can't keep him off 'Le Placard' set

PARIS — Gerard Depardieu is back on the set of Francis Veber’s $16 million “Le Placard” (The Closet) less than a month after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery, his agent said Wednesday.

The 51-year-old French actor, who had been complaining of chest pain, was in the middle of shooting when doctors decided to go ahead with the operation July 10.

The workaholic Depardieu, who makes several films a year, was on his feet again a week later.

His return to the set of “Le Placard” is good news for Gaumont. The French major has suffered a series of setbacks this year, culminating with Roland Joffe’s $36 million costumer “Vatel,” also starring Depardieu, which bombed at the box office. Gaumont largely blamed “Vatel” for plunging it into the red for the first half of 2000.

Company hopes “Le Placard” will emulate the success of Veber’s box-office smash “The Dinner Game,” the highest grossing French film of 1998.

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