French actor Gerard Depardieu is set to start work on his first Russian movie project after abandoning his homeland over a tax hike on wealthy citizens.

The Green Card star was granted citizenship and a Russian passport from President Vladimir Putin when he quit France in December (12) over its government's plan to set the tax rate for country's elite at 75 per cent.

Depardieu revealed he was eager to film a new movie in his adopted homeland, and he has stuck to his promise by starting work on a crime thriller called Turquoise.

The actor will play a gangster, while British actress Elizabeth Hurley has been hired to play his lover.

Announcing the project on, Hurley writes, "This week's been frantic: prepping for a new movie I start next week in Russia with Gerard Depardieu..."

The production will be shot in Russia's capital Moscow and Grozny, the capital of Chechnya where Depardieu now has a home.