Depardieu and Hurley take Grozny
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.