Actor Gerard Depardieu jumped at the chance to portray disgraced former International Monetary Fund boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn in new movie Welcome To New York, because the story featured "incredible elements" of classic Shakespearean tragedies.

The French businessman was forced to step down as the Imf's chief in 2011 after he was caught up in a hotel rape scandal in New York.

The charges against him were dropped, but the fall-out cost him his job and his marriage, and now the headline-grabbing drama has inspired a fictionalised account of the controversy in director Abel Ferrara's new film.

Welcome To New York premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival on Saturday (17May14) and Depardieu reveals he was immediately drawn to the project - in which his character is renamed Mr. Devereaux due to legal reasons - upon reading the script.

Comparing Welcome to New York to "a Shakespearean tragedy" after its screening at the French film event, he added, "It's about power and sex and money. You have all these incredible elements of the great tragedies that we know from the stage."

The movie, which is not in competition at Cannes, received warm reviews from the press, with Variety critic Scott Foundas praising Depardieu for "a powerhouse performance", while The Hollywood Reporter's Jordan Mintzer branded the film "scandalous" and "hilarious", although declared it was a "somewhat tedious account of the Dsk affair".