In an extraordinary rant, French actor Gérard Depardieu has accused the US government of creating the AIDS epidemic.
Depardieu, 68, accused the Pentagon of unleashing the disease during research into biological weaponry using monkeys.
But the actor – who starred in The Life of Pi, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Man in the Iron Mask – also says the world may never know the truth.
“They say so many things. We know nothing,” he told Daily Beast in an interview this week.
“Maybe we will know with your president, because he speaks a lot.”
He went on to compare US President Donald Trump to fascist dictator Adolf Hitler and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“[Mr Trump is] like Kim Jong-un Two. They are like two cartoons. Dangerous cartoons. But we start with the cartoon we don’t believe – like Hitler. He started like that and after the fear, even the very smart people do nothing,” Depardieu said.
The French actor is touring the US for his recently translated book Innocent.
In the book, Depardieu defends his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin – who granted the actor citizenship in 2013.
Depardieu sided with Mr Putin in annexing Crimea, writing: “That region has always been considered sacred land by the Russians.
“I see Putin regularly, and most of the time we talk about geopolitics,” he wrote of the friendship.
Depardieu also befriended the late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, and Chechnya President Ramzan Kadyrov, who was installed by Putin.
He said he was not a journalist or investigator, and did not follow the politics of the countries famed for human rights abuses.
“I say to my critics, go there and see for yourself … Take the risks for yourself. I went there. I was not tortured. I was not poisoned, and I wasn’t exactly in agreement with everything that I saw.
“I saw that things were strange there, but I wasn’t there to amuse myself and ask for a kind of change.”
Depardieu’s life was almost bookmarked when he underwent an emergency quintuple bypass surgery 17 years ago, after drinking up to 14 bottles of red wine a day – followed by champagne and a glass of whiskey.
In Innocent, he reportedly touched on his time as a teenage sex worker for men and his struggles with addiction. Depardieu was twice jailed for dealing drugs and stealing.
In 2008, his 37-year-old son Guillaume – who was also jailed for drug dealing – died of pneumonia five years after his leg was amputated following a motorcycle accident.