Kryštof Hádek • Shooting star 2010, Czech Republic
by Theodore Schwinke
Kryštof Hádek was born into film. His mother Jana Hádková is a documentary filmmaker and his brother Matěj is also an actor, having appeared in Grandhotel [+see also:
film profile], Tobruk and You Cannot Escape Your Shadows [+see also:
film profile], among others.
Under his family's influence, Hádek had several child roles before his achieving acclaim in Dark Blue World, for which he was nominated for a Czech Lion Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Hádek has since gone on to numerous television appearances and roles in such films as Some Secrets, Bestiarum, the successful comedies Grapes and Grapes 2, and now Three Seasons in Hell [+see also:
film profile]. He also appears on stage at Prague's Rokoko and Švandově theatres.
Cineuropa: How did you get into acting?
Kryštof Hádek: I was probably influenced by the environment in grew up in. My mother is a director of documentaries and my older brother is an actor as well. When I was 14 he was around 20 and already studying at the Czech conservatory. You can imagine how it is for a 14-year-old boy to see him with all these beautiful, young actresses. They were always very nice to me and I guess I fell in love a couple times. Plus I knew there was no maths, no chemistry or physics in acting. I wanted to see myself as one of those guys smoking in front of the school, watching the ballerinas come and go.
But you left the conservatory.
I was kicked out, actually, because I wasn’t really attending. It’s not that I wasn’t willing, but I was starting to get some work and I thought it was more important than attending school. I also studied at London's Academy Of Music And Drama Art and did some stage work. But I really took to filming. It’s like summer camp: You meet a group of people, you spend some time with them and then you go on to something new.
What kind of roles are you attracted to?
I love period movies. When you’re shooting something contemporary, you just come on the set in jeans and a pullover and you put on different jeans. I'm attracted to challenging roles and strong stories, especially love stories.
How do you prepare for a role?
It depends on the material. If it’s a period piece, I research that particular time. If the character is based on a real person, I read whatever books I can find on him. I prepare physically because sometimes you’re shooting 16 hours a day. But mainly I try to find the development, the dynamic behind the character.
You're best known internationally for your role in Dark Blue World. How did come to be cast in that film?
I went with my brother to the casting. They chose me in the end because I was younger. I was 17 and I didn’t have any military experience, so the producers put me in basic training to learn how to march, how to salute and the whole army drill. When I got the role, I started interviewing World War 2 veterans about their experiences flying in the RAF. What was it like in the cockpit? What was the fear like? Did you smoke in the cockpit? What were the girls like? The uniforms? I also asked them about the time after the war. Although they came back to Czechoslovakia as heroes, after the 1948 communist putsch, many of them were imprisoned. Some escaped to the West. It was a sad time, but I’m happy that I was a part of that movie.
Your current film, Three Seasons in Hell, is set in that post-war period. Tell us about your role.
My character is inspired by a Czech poet of that time named Egon Bondy. He was an underground poet. A lot of his friends were actually eliminated, executed in the 1950s as enemies of the state. He's very self-confident but also very naive young man because he believed in the Marxists’ ideas. He is very naive in the beginning but by the end he’s been slapped by the historical facts, so he wakes up and finds out that not everything is as he thought.