Director and producer Petr Jákl has started filming a deluxe historic feature film about Jan Žižka. The budget is half a billion Crowns, which makes this the most expensive film in Czech cinematography to date. American actor Ben Foster will play the starring role. Sophie Lowe, William Mosely, Michael Caine, Til Schweiger and Czech actors Ondřej Vetchý, Marek Vašut and Jan Budař, will also appear in the film. Preparation of this deluxe film about the early life of Jan Žižka has taken eight years.
“When studying historic materials half of them state that Jan Žižka lost his right eye and half state that he lost his left eye," says Jákl, who wants to achieve historical accuracy. The film will be shot not only at the Barrandov Studios, but also in many Czech locations, such as medieval castles, South Bohemia, Central Bohemia in Prague and in other places linked to Žižka‘s history.
This amount is not in my ability to comprehend," Jákl said. It is assumed that this undoubtedly deluxe film will be released in cinemas in 2020 and Hollywood producer Cassian Elwes, who is behind films such as Dallas Buyers Club, will produce it.
“I watched films such as Braveheart, Gladiator or Samurai as a young boy and I always wanted to make a film like that. But I wanted to make it with a Czech hero. I think that Jan Žižka is the right figure for such a film," Jákl, whose film is based on a screenplay by Marek Dobeš and Michal Petruš, says. Jaroslav Čechura is the historic advisor.
In order for the film to have a chance at success abroad, deluxe renowned foreign actors, as well as famous Czech actors, were cast. So it is no surprise that several Hollywood stars such as Australian actress Sophie Lowe, German actor Til Schweiger or British actor William Mosely, will also appear in the film. The film was able to acquire American actor Ben Foster for the leading role, with two-times Oscar winner, British actor Michael Caine, who will play Lord Borš the right hand of King Václav IV, appearing beside him.
“I still can’t believe that I managed to cast stars like that, who will push our cinematographic boundaries,” he added.
Filming began this week with a great battle in a quarry near Prague. The entire cast of famous names in this historic feature film is already in Prague. We are only waiting for Michael Caine and one crucial actor, who is still being kept secret.
“It will be inspired by the real story of one of the greatest military commanders of his time, the never-beaten Jan Žižka of Trocnov, who became a legend as a result of his actions. Europe at the end of the 14th century. Everything that Charles IV, Roman Emperor and Czech King has established, is crumbling. Centuries of order are shaking in their foundations. The emperor’s first-born son and successor Václav IV. is too weak a ruler for such a time. The leading noble in the country, Lord Jindřich of Rožmberk, is engulfing the courts of the free yeomen one after the other. But one of them defies him, his name is Jan Žižka,“ Petr Jákl says.
Ben Foster - Jan Žižka
Michael Caine - Boreš
Til Schweiger - Rožmberk
William Moseley - Jaroslav, Žižka’s brother
Sophie Lowe - Kateřina
Marek Vašut - the chamberlain of King Václav IV.
Jan Budař - unspecified role of Matthew