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Depardieu Woos Old Flame Hurley in Thriller Filmed in Chechnya

Gerard Depardieu, the French actor awarded Russian citizenship this year, is filming a thriller in Moscow and the mainly Muslim region of Chechnya with U.K. actress and model Elizabeth Hurley.

Depardieu, 64, plays an ex-convict who travels to Moscow to avenge the death of his son and meets his old love, played by Hurley, the film’s producer, Arnaud Frilley, said by e-mail.

Depardieu, who fled France to avoid taxes imposed on the wealthy by Socialist President Francois Hollande, dined with President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in January after receiving his new citizenship. A month later he visited Chechnya, which was ravaged by two separatist wars in the 1990s, and was feted by strongman Ramzan Kadyrov.

Hurley, 47, the former partner of British actor Hugh Grant, said via her Twitter Inc. account yesterday that she was shopping for costumes in Moscow. The movie, “Turquoise,” will be filmed from May 18 to June 26.

Frilley, who produced Depardieu’s 2011 picture about Grigory Rasputin, the peasant mystic with a hold over Russia’s last royal family, is producing this one, too.

The actor wrote in an open letter to French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault published in the French weekly Journal du Dimanche in December that he would leave the country because his tax rate had hit 85 percent. He bought a home and applied for citizenship in Belgium before Putin made him a citizen of Russia, where the tax rate is a flat 13 percent.

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