WASHINGTON—French film star Gerard Depardieu said he had no choice but to relieve himself into a bottle on a plane last month after a flight attendant blocked the bathroom door, insisting “I’m not a monster.”
In a daytime talk show interview on Tuesday with Anderson Cooper — who had broken into a giggling fit over the incident on his prime-time CNN news show — France’s best-known movie star admitted the bottle was not up to the task.
He explained via satellite from Dublin that he tried to use the lavatory on board the Paris-to-Dublin flight before takeoff but that the flight attendant “blocked the door with her foot” and ordered him to return to his seat.
“I say: ‘Madam, I have a lot of pee. I have to go pee. It’s hurt me,” a laughing Depardieu recalled. “I’m not a terrorist, I just want to pee.”
After the flight attendant again refused, he borrowed an empty bottle from a friend and relieved himself. “It was so beautiful, you know. It’s very hurt,” the French actor said in English.
“I’m not a monster. I’m just a man who wants to pee… I don’t understand why she blocked the door.”
He said her outrage grew when the bottle overflowed.
“The bottle was too small, you know. I am an elephant… I said: ‘Don’t worry, I will clean it up.'”
By then other passengers had gathered around with camera phones, and the plane soon taxied back to the terminal, where Depardieu was escorted off by the ground crew without incident.
When Cooper asked if “any wine was involved,” Depardieu said no.
Cooper, a CNN host who often reports from conflict zones, broke down into a fit of laughter during a light-hearted segment on his news show a few weeks ago after reciting a series of groan-worthy puns about the Depardieu incident.
Cooper has since launched his own daytime talk show.
Depardieu is perhaps the best known face in French cinema, having appeared in almost 200 films, and is best known abroad as the star of the 1990 literary epic “Cyrano de Bergerac” and the US romantic comedy “Green Card”.
He is a successful winemaker and restaurateur but in 1990 was convicted of drunk driving. His behavior has been criticized in the past, notably when he head butted a press photographer, but he is still a well-loved public figure.