GROZNY, May 21 (RIA Novosti) – A thriller starring the legendary French actor Gerard Depardieu and the British actress Elizabeth Hurley, being filmed in the Russian North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, will be shown to the public at the end of the year, the movie’s producer Arnaud Frilley said Tuesday.
“Viewers will be able to see the film at the end of the year,” Frilley told journalists in the Chechen capital Grozny.
The movie’s filming began in the Chechen Republic on Saturday, a representative of Chechnya’s Culture Ministry told RIA Novosti. The movie, called “Biryuza” (Turqoise), is to be shot in Chechnya and in Moscow.
Depardieu, who was recently given a Russian passport after publicly criticizing the tax regime in his native France, will play 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.
Depardieu also said he plans to learn the Russian language.
“I travel across the entire world, meet many Russians, though I don’t speak Russian that I’m going to learn now,” he told reporters.
Turquoise will also feature actors from Chechnya’s Serlo youth theater, the Culture Ministry representative said earlier.
Frilley previously made a film starring Depardieu about Russian mystic Grigory Rasputin.
Depardieu received fast-tracked Russian citizenship back in January, and collected his new passport at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said he had renounced his French citizenship ahead of the government’s planned implementation of a 75 percent tax rate for annual earnings above $1.3 million. Russia has a single-band income tax of just 13 percent.
Depardieu is no stranger to Chechnya, a North Caucasus region that has been at the center of over two decades of violent conflict between Islamist separatists and forces loyal to Moscow. He visited Grozny last October for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov's 36th birthday, when he said: “Glory to Chechnya! Glory to Kadyrov!"
When the actor visited the city again in February after receiving his Russian passport, he was given an elite five-room apartment in a Grozny skyscraper by Kadyrov.
Depardieu obtained a permanent residence permit in Mordovia, central Russia, in February, the republic's press and information minister, Valery Maresyev, said then.
On Tuesday, Maresyev commented on media stir caused by Depardieu allegedly seen riding in a car with flashing lights, or “migalki,” in Saransk, Mordovia’s capital. The minister said Mordovian governor Vladimir Volkov gave the French actor a ride, as they were heading to the same event.
There has been rising public anger in Russia over the migalki, which have come to epitomize the impunity afforded to businessmen and state officials who use them to bypass traffic rules.