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The shoot for war drama Anthropoid wraps in Prague


- The US-produced film co-produced by the Czech Republic has gone into post-production, while more big-budget productions are about to roll into the country

The shoot for war drama Anthropoid wraps in Prague
An image from the shoot for Anthropoid (© Lucky Man Films)

One of the promoted new projects at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival was Anthropoid [+see also:
film review
film profile
, a US film co-produced by the UK, France and the Czech Republic, unveiled by its writer and director, Sean Ellis (Metro Manila [+see also:
film profile
). Ellis chose to adapt an important moment in the history of Czechoslovakia: the assassination of SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich in 1942, carried out by Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš. Although they failed to kill him instantly, Heydrich later died from his wounds. The perpetrators were caught and executed, and the act provoked merciless reprisals by SS troops, many executions and the destruction of villages (such as the massacre and destruction of Lidice). The lead roles of Kubiš and Gabčík were entrusted to Irish actors Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy, while Czech actress Aňa Geislerová stars opposite Murphy as Gabčík’s partner, alongside Charlotte Le Bon, who takes on the role of Kubiš’ partner.

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Operation Anthropoid has been filmed several times before, so the director made his vision more specific: “For me, it felt right that this was the next film I wanted to make. I also wanted to make it more of a contained, very emotional piece. I didn’t see it as some kind of war epic, because I think the actions of the people involved are epic, and I felt that if I could tell the story on a very small scale in that sense, that would be the way to do this – to focus on the people in the Czech resistance at that time.”

The film was shot entirely in the Czech Republic (on location in Prague and at the Barrandov Studios, etc) over the course of 39 days. “It’s a Czech story, so the authenticity of the settings was 50% of the decision for us. The film incentives were the other 50%,” confirmed one of Anthropoid’s producers, Pete Shilaimon. The material was continuously delivered to Richard Mettler, the film’s editor, and post-production work is already in full swing, following the wrap. The producers have their eyes on the Cannes Film Festival for the world premiere next May.

The Czech Republic recently landed another two big-budget US productions set to be shot on location and at studios in the country. Another wartime drama, The Zookeeper’s Wife, to be directed by New Zealand native Niki Caro, will get going on 29 September, while the fifth instalment in the Underworld vampire saga, Underworld: Next Generation, will kick off on 5 October. Anna Foerster is to helm the movie. 

Anthropoid is being produced by US studio LD Entertainment; Czech outfit Lucky Man Films (through producer David Ondříček) is serving as the main co-producer, with co-production support coming from the UK’s Anthropoid Productions Ltd and French company Vingt Deux Heures Vingt Deux Sarl.

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