VIKTOR (a.k.a. Turquoise) in the News: The Moscow News

Depardieu and Hurley take Grozny

by Vladimir Kozlov at 27/05/2013 19:47

Reports are streaming out of Chechnya about French actor – and new Russian citizen – Gerard Depardieu, who is working on two films set in the North Caucasus republic.

Depardieu arrived last week in Grozny to begin work on the thriller “Turquoise” alongside British actress Elizabeth Hurley. Directed by Philippe Martinez, “Turquoise” is filming in the Chechen capital and Moscow. According to the film’s producer, Depardieu plays a gangster recently released from prison. The character travels to Moscow to find his son’s killer, with the help of Hurley’s femme fatale.


Hurley told reporters in Grozny that filming in the republic is “a great adventure.” “When I was told that the movie would be filmed in Chechnya, I had to take a very deep breath,” she said. “But then I realized it was a very good opportunity for me to come to a part of the world that I wouldn’t necessarily have expected to visit.”

Hurley has posted photos on Instagram of herself with the republic’s controversial head, Ramzan Kadyrov, who has been accused of human rights abuses.

Depardieu visited Chechnya earlier this year after controversially receiving Russian citizenship and residency in Mordovia’s capital, Saransk, where he is now registered as an “individual entrepreneur.” Kadyrov also granted him an apartment in Grozny.

Earlier this month, Le Monde reported that Depardieu is also to play Chechnya’s former president Akhmat Kadyrov, Ramzan Kadyrov’s father, who was killed in a terrorist attack in 2004.

However, Depardieu’s friend Nikolai Borodachev, director of the state film archive Gosfilmfond, corrected the report, saying the actor will play not Kadyrov, but a regular Chechen in a film with a tentative title “Serdtse Otsa” (A Father’s Heart). “This is a totally different story, more like an action thriller,” he told Izvestia. “Depardieu will be playing a positive Chechen character.”

The film is centered on Chechnya’s reconstruction in the wake of the wars of the mid-1990s – early 2000s.

VIKTOR (a.k.a. Turquoise) in the News: NY Times

Depardieu, Newly a Russian, Will Play Frenchman in Chechnya

Musa Sadulayev/Associated Press


Gerard Depardieu attended a news conference in Grozny, the formerly war-torn Chechen capital, on Tuesday.


Published: May 21, 2013

MOSCOW — Gérard Depardieu may have renounced his French nationality as a protest against high taxes and became a citizen of Russia instead, but on Tuesday he said he would play a Frenchman in a movie to be filmed in Moscow and in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya.

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Mr. Depardieu, who has declared the city of Saransk, about 370 miles east of Moscow in the Mordovia region, as his new home, held a news conference on Tuesday in Grozny to promote the film, which will be called “Turquoise” and will also star the British actress Elizabeth Hurley.


Grozny is better known as the center of two bloody wars fought against Russia by Muslim separatists than as a glamorous celebrity hangout.

But it seemed to enjoy an odd, fleeting paparazzi moment on Tuesday as Mr. Depardieu and Ms. Hurley appeared with the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, a strongman supported by the Kremlin who has been accused of human rights abuses. Ms. Hurley posted messages about the event on Twitter and posted three pictures via Instagram.

Mr. Depardieu noted Chechnya’s violent reputation, at one point telling a journalist: “You see, it’s O.K. They don’t kill you,” according to Nikolaus von Twickel, a correspondent for the German news agency DPA, who attended the event.

At another point, Mr. Depardieu made it clear that his strident antitax sentiments had not eased, despite his qualification as a Russian tax resident for a flat 13 percent income tax levy. Speaking in English, he used an expletive to describe taxes in Britain, which he said had prompted film directors to leave that country.

He also offered gratitude to Mr. Kadyrov, who has given him an apartment in Grozny, and kind words for Chechnya and the Chechen people.

He said that Chechens should not feel any responsibility for the April 15 bombings of the Boston Marathon, even though the two suspects in the attack, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, were of Chechen heritage. “I agree with Ramazan Kadyrov that the Tsarnaev brothers have a Chechen family name but American education,” he said, according to the Chechen Republic press office. “You don’t bear any responsibility for this.”

And while Mr. Depardieu recently announced plans to open a restaurant in Saransk, he offered high praise for the cuisine in Chechnya, as well as perhaps a small dig at his estranged homeland.

“I am familiar with the national dishes of many nations and countries,” he said, according to the Chechen press office. “And you know, in my opinion, the best cuisines are in Chechnya, India and Great Britain.”

But the theme of the day was clearly the occasionally transient nature of national identity. And in a sense, Mr. Depardieu noted, portraying a Frenchman in Chechnya would bring him full circle. He recalled, the Chechen press office said, that the 19th-century French writer Alexandre Dumas had once called Chechens the French of the Caucasus.


This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 21, 2013

An earlier version of this article incorrectly described a character that Gérard Depardieu is playing in a movie being filmed in Moscow and Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. According to a treatment on the director’s Web site, Mr. Depardieu will play a Frenchman, not a Chechen. The article also incorrectly reported the number of films he is making there; at his news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Depardieu referred only to one film, not two.

VIKTOR (a.k.a. Turquoise) in the News: The Times

Elizabeth Hurley to star with Gérard Depardieu

Elizabeth Hurley will play Alexandra Ivanova, a nightclub owner
Rob Rich/Splash News
Elizabeth Hurley

Elizabeth Hurley will play Alexandra Ivanova, a nightclub owner Rob Rich/Splash News

Published at 12:01AM, May 14 2013

When Gérard Depardieu received his Russian passport in January, he declared his love for the country’s “people, its history, its writers” and praised the population for “your culture, your intelligence”.

Now, as a fitting token of his gratitude, the cinema giant and tax exile is bringing Elizabeth Hurley to Russia. She will travel to Moscow this week to film opposite Mr Depardieu, she has announced.


The rest of the article may be viewed here:

VIKTOR (a.k.a. Turquoise) in the News: The Moscow Times

Depardieu Defends Chechnya After Boston Bombing

22 May 2013 | Issue 5132
The Moscow Times

 French actor Gerard Depardieu looking at a glass during a news conference in Grozny on Tuesday.

Musa Sadulayev / AP


French actor Gerard Depardieu, visiting Grozny to film a new movie, said the ethnic Chechen brothers accused of the Boston bombing had been raised American and that residents of Chechnya were not to blame.The actor, who accepted Russian citizenship after quitting France to avoid a planned 75 percent tax on millionaires, was echoing comments from Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, with whom he has been filmed socializing.


“I was in the United States when the terrorist act was carried out in Boston. I agree with Ramzan Kadyrov, who said that the Tsarnaev brothers have a Chechen last name but their upbringing is American,” Depardieu said at a news conference on Grozny on Tuesday.

“You [Chechens] don’t carry any responsibility,” said Depardieu, who was in Chechnya to shoot a movie.

The movie, “Turquoise,” which also stars British actress Elizabeth Hurley, is being filmed in Chechnya and Moscow and will debut late this year.

In the film, Depardieu plays the role of a man whose son is killed and who comes to Russia to avenge him, meeting up with an old flame (played by Hurley) in Moscow and a Chechen friend along the way.

“Turquoise” is being directed by French filmmaker Philippe Martinez and produced by Arnaud Frilley, who previously made a film starring Depardieu about Russian mystic Grigory Rasputin. Filming began in Chechnya on Saturday.

Depardieu, flanked by Frilley and Hurley at the news conference, also said that he plans to learn the Russian language now that he is a Russian citizen.

“I travel across the entire world, meet many Russians, though I don’t speak Russian, which I’m going to learn now,” he said.

British actress Elizabeth Hurley attending a news conference with Depardieu in Grozny. (Musa Sadulayev / AP)

Depardieu is no stranger to Chechnya, visiting Grozny last October for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s 36th birthday, where he declared: “Glory to Chechnya! Glory to Kadyrov!”

When the actor visited the city again in February after receiving his Russian passport, Kadyrov gave him an elite five-room apartment in a Grozny skyscraper.

Depardieu obtained a permanent residence permit in Mordovia, central Russia, in February.

On Tuesday, a senior Mordovia official, Valery Maresyev, commented on a media stir caused after Depardieu was spotted riding in a car with flashing lights in Saransk, Mordovia’s capital. Maresyev said Mordovia’s governor, Vladimir Volkov, had given the French actor a ride because they were both had been heading to the same event.

There has been rising public anger in Russia over flashing lights, which have come to epitomize the impunity afforded to businessmen and state officials who use them to bypass traffic rules.

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