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Depardieu crash delays ‘Asterix’

Gallic thesp suffer broken leg

Gerard Depardieu’s sudden parting of company with his motorcycle on May 18 has left the Gallic thesp with a fractured leg and director Claude Zidi with a whopping headache.

Depardieu is meant to be shooting France’s biggest ever French-lingo pic, the $45 million “Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar.” In fact he was on the way to the set when he tried to make a straight line out of a corner and crashed.

Apart from the fact that Depardieu wasn’t meant to have been riding his bike — insurance companies are naturally uneasy about actors who are involved in big projects taking unnecessary risks — Zidi now faces shooting around Obelix, until such a time as Depardieu is mended. The film also stars Christian Clavier as Asterix and Roberto Benigni.

Sources say Zidi can manage this for between 17 and 20 days, but if the fracture doesn’t get a quick fix, delays will kick in.

Renn Prods. and co-prod partner Bavaria Studios were already a tad nervous about the film, given the size of the budget and the language question. “He shouldn’t have been riding, but who’s going to tell Depardieu what to do,” sighs a project insider.