Sophie Lowe, Michael Caine and Ben Foster star in Jan Žižka – Warrior of God
by Martin Kudláč
- The epic biopic, the most expensive Czech film ever made, will dramatise the early life of the titular Czech national hero
Until now, an ambitious fantasy film combining CGI and live action, The Last of Aporver [+see also:
film profile], has held the title of the most expensive Czech film ever made (with a budget of 208 million Czech crowns, or approximately €8 million), despite not actually being finished. However, a new challenger has now emerged to nab that particular crown. Czech ex-stuntman turned producer and filmmaker Petr Jákl has started shooting his third feature, the historical epic Jan Žižka – Warrior of God, the budget of which is estimated to be an unprecedented half a billion Czech crowns (€19.5 million).
Jákl already shot his previous project Ghoul [+see also:
film profile], a found-footage horror film, with an English-speaking, international crew. However, he is now upping the ante with two-time Oscar-winning actor Michael Caine, Australian actress Sophia Lowe, Ben Foster, William Moseley and Til Schweiger, who have all signed up for his latest endeavour. But domestic talents have not been overlooked, as Ondřej Vetchý, Marek Vašut and Jan Budař, among others, will also appear on screen.
The project has been in development for over eight years, and in that time, the budget has ballooned to its current level from the originally planned 80 million Czech crowns. The biopic revolves around the well-known titular Czech historical figure, considered to be one of the most innovative military leaders and a national hero. The movie will focus on his youth before he took the helm of the Czech Hussites in various religious wars.
The film is being shot on sound stages at Barrandov Studios as well as on location at several domestic spots, mostly medieval castles. Principal photography is planned to take place for three months, with the theatrical release scheduled for 2020. Jákl is producing for his outfit, JBJ Films, and has entered a co-production deal with Hollywood producer Cassian Elwes and his company, Elevated Films. The Czech Film Fund, Prague Film Fund and Creative Europe MEDIA are all supporting the project.
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