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PRODUCTION Czech Republic

Havel to debut as film director

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Czech playwright and politician Václav Havel has announced plans to direct a film adaptation of his most recent play, Leaving.

Producer Richard Nemec told Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes that a film adaptation of the play had been planned for public broadcaster Ceska Televize. Jaroslav Brabec previously had been attached as director but told the daily that he supported Havel's decision.

The film is expected to star Havel's wife, Dagmar Havlova, who appeared most recently in Julius Sevcik's Shanghai competition title Normal [+see also:
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. Other cast members include Josef Abrham (Beauty in Trouble), Jaroslav Dusek (Up and Down, Divided We Fall) and Eva Holubova (Pupendo, Cosy Dens).

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Leaving should go into production next year.

The original stage version of Leaving saw its premiere in Prague last summer. Since then, English-language versions have been staged in London and in New York.

The play tells the story of a head of state who leaves politics. Havel, who himself left the office of president of the Czech Republic in 2003, has denied that the film is autobiographical.

Havel made his name as playwright and as a dissident leader before the collapse of communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989. Menahem Golan and Jiri Menzel directed an adaptation of his play The Beggar's Opera in 1991. Havel was recently the subject of two documentaries: Citizen Havel [+see also:
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(2007) and Obcan Havel Prikuluje (2009).

He is also understood to be collaborating with Czech-born director Milos Forman on The Ghost of Munich, an adaptation of Georges-Marc Benamou's novel about the 1938 Munich Agreement.

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