Wajda starts shooting Lech Walesa biopic
by Dorota Hartwich
01/12/2011 - “It will be the most difficult film of my whole career,” said Oscar-winning director Andrzej Wajda (pictured) at a press conference about his latest feature, which starts shooting today: a biopic about Lech Walesa. “Poland gave rise to an extraordinary hero, who achieved a real victory, a victory of the mind (…) But the film cannot hinge solely on the actors. Notably, there will be some documentary fragments because Polish cinema existed at the time of these historic events.“
This is the first big-screen adaptation of the life of Walesa, the legendary Solidarity leader who became the first democratically elected president of the Polish Republic in 1990.
Scripted by Polish writer Janusz Glowacki (who previously worked with Wajda on Hunting Flies, in competition at Cannes in 1969), the film focuses on the first two decades of Walesa’s political activity and the story opens in the 1970s. “I was surprised when Andrzej approached me about this project,” admitted Glowacki. “But he made it clear that he didn’t want to turn Walesa into a monument, or create a cult around him. So I thought it would be an interesting project”.
The cast includes two Polish film stars: Robert Wieckiewicz will play the title role and Agnieszka Grochowska will portray Danuta Walesa (the hero’s wife). “They are the best actors of the young generation,” said the director, who has also hired DoP Pawel Edelman (nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar 2003 for The Pianist), who re-teams with Wajda after Sweet Rush [trailer] and Katyn [trailer, film focus].
Produced by Michal Kwieciński for Akson Studio, the film will be shot in Warsaw and Gdańsk. Its €3.5m budget includes co-production support from Canal+ and €1.3m in backing from the Polish Film Institute.
(Translated from French)