Weird places that Hollywood stars visited in Moscow

On arriving in the Russian capital for the first time, most rush to see Red Square and the Kremlin. But these mavericks didn’t follow the script.

Quentin Tarantino: Pasternak's grave and the State Central Film Museum

Tarantino near the Kremlin's Tsar Bell

The last time the famous U.S. director came to Moscow was in 2019 to promote his movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The then Russian culture minister Vladimir Medinsky gave the maestro a tour of the Kremlin and its museums, photographs of which became memes. And not by coincident did the minister present Tarantino with a volume of poetry by Boris Pasternak.

Tarantino and Vladimir Medinsky in the Kremlin

On his previous visit to Moscow, in 2004, he didn’t go just anywhere, but to the grave of Boris Pasternak, who, it turned out, is the great director's favorite author. Tarantino spent about half an hour at the cemetery. Eyewitnesses recall that, far from being a perfunctory visit, the director sat huddled against the tombstone in a kind of trance. Tarantino himself later claimed to possess the ability to establish spiritual contact with genius writers.

Tarantino at the Pasternak's grave

On the way back to the cemetery, which lies on the outskirts of Moscow, Quentin came back down to Earth by calling at McDonald's, and then unexpectedly showed up at the State Central Film Museum. Director Naum Kleiman took him on a tour, showing things that the erudite director might not have seen – the maestro was in raptures.

Johnny Depp: Lenin's Mausoleum and the Mayakovsky Museum

The world’s most famous pirate has been various movie premieres in Moscow, but his most unusual visit was in 2018. Depp came to play with the rock band Hollywood Vampires, which he formed with Alice Cooper and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry.

Before the concert at the Olympic Stadium, Depp dropped by the... Mayakovsky Museum, which, it turned out, the actor had long dreamed of visiting, having read Mayakovsky voraciously since adolescence, admiring "his passion, drama, drive and incredible forcefulness." Once he bought a book of his poetry for the portrait on the cover: "When I saw that shaved head and unkind face, I thought, oh, that’s definitely for me!"

In addition, the actor visited Lenin's Mausoleum and the necropolis by the Kremlin wall. Later, at a press conference, he bemoaned always having too little time in Moscow to see all the wonderful sights.

Tom Hardy: Ice Cave and the Moscow metro

Tom Hardy in Moscow's Zaryadye Park next to the Kremlin

Tom Hardy came to Moscow in 2018 to promote the film Venom. He met with fans and took a stroll round the trendy Zaryadye Park near the Kremlin, where he went inside the Ice Cave pavilion. To keep his ears from freezing, he was presented with a fur hat, which he took a fancy to and showed off at a press conference.

Hardy also took a ride on the Moscow metro. Not without security, of course, but he still got a good feel of the place and even rubbed the nose of the bronze dog at Ploshchad Revolutsii (Revolution Square) station for good luck.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Skolkovo Innovation Center and the Tretyakov Gallery

In 1988 Arnold Schwarzenegger wore the uniform of a Soviet policeman in the Red Square as they were shooting Red Heat movie there

Iron Arnie has been to Moscow many times. Probably the actor's most famous Russian scene was the one shot on Red Square for 1988’s Red Heat. On that visit, he wanted to buy a fur coat for his wife, but the perestroika-era USSR was suffering shortages. But after pulling a few media and official strings, Schwarzenegger was taken to the Torgmekh store, where he picked out a beautiful white fur coat for his other half. Arnie also got to meet up with his idol from youth, Soviet world champion weightlifter Yuri Vlasov.

Arnold Schwarzenegger meet with his idol Yuri Vlasov at the Moscow Athletics sports club, 1988

In 2010 Schwarzenegger came not as an actor, but as the "governator" of California, bringing with him a group of American businessmen looking to invest. He rode the subway in the morning rush hour and got caught in the crowd rushing to work, from which he concluded, optimistically, that Russians love their public transport.

Later, then-President Dmitry Medvedev personally took Arnie on a tour of the Skolkovo Innovation Center, where they discussed American investment opportunities. Medvedev even accompanied the actor to the gym. Arnie expressed a desire to visit the Tretyakov Gallery, and so the doors were opened specially for him, even though it was a cleaning day!

Madonna: orphan boarding school

Madonna leaves her hotel in Moscow, 2006

The pop diva first performed in Moscow in 2006, and, yes, it caused a commotion. Despite the eye-watering ticket prices, the show at the Luzhniki Olympic Complex was a sell-out, and afterwards she was inundated with invitations to nightclubs. Reporters set up camp outside the lavish Café Pushkin, expecting to see the singer show up for a meeting with representatives of Russia’s LGBT community. But Madonna shocked everyone by not going to any parties. Instead, she drove from the hotel to the airport, paying a secret visit to an orphanage on the way and donating a tidy sum (how much the press did not manage to ascertain).

Steven Tyler: busked in the street

On his last visit in 2015, the lead singer of the legendary Aerosmith went straight to Kuznetsky Most street to... busk with a local street musician! It all happened by chance. He was walking by when he heard a guy with a guitar performing his song "I Don't Want Miss A Thing". Tyler walked up to the microphone and joined in with the young musician to the delight of the ecstatic crowd.

The frontman has Russian roots, he later revealed at a press conference. His grandfather came from Ukraine and always considered himself Russian, Tyler said, and he himself grew up on borsch and generally loves Russian food.

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