If you want to become a movie star for a while, or at least feel like one, you have a chance. There's a unique film armory in Tábor, in Housův mlýn, where you can try out props from movies such as The Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Samurai or Hellboy.
Few people know that the golden Czech hands dressed famous actors such as Karel Roden, Daniel Hůlka or Jackie Chan. In every movie that was made in the Czech Republic, there is our footprint.
"It's almost funny sometimes, when the filmmakers that made The Lord of the Rings arrive and they act a little superior with us, thinking we can't possibly know much about it, but soon they find out that they'd be lost without us,"
smiles the weapons manufacturer, blacksmith Petr Theimer. He has participated in shootings of various films, with his most precious memories being those of working on the project the Knights of Shanghai with Jackie Chan.
All-time favorite Jackie Chan
"I've kept the weapon he fought with in the movie, and he eventually signed it for us, so it's a real gem. He surprised me as a person, because for being such a master of martial arts and a man of wealth, he's a really just an ordinary guy who approached me, asked nicely, I gave him a weapon, then he came back, returned it to me and said thank you. He's really a good person,"
The film armory contains 3,000 pieces of weaponry, armor and weapon props from Czech and foreign films, series, theater plays and musicals. These items have either been preserved from the actual shooting or they are copies that had been made for a particular film, but have never been in the end.
Actors and their toys
But many celebrities wish to keep a souvenir from a movie shoot; most often it's one of their props.
"It happened several times that one of the actors wanted to buy a prop from us. The main character, for instance, wants to have a souvenir from the project, so replicas of various items are made. The main character has at least five of those things, for example five swords, in case something happened, and usually the actor does get them,"
But Brad Pitt didn't want his helmet from the feature film Troy, so you can freely try it on.
The Chronicles of Narnia is a feature film that was shot here in the Czech Republic as well as in many other places in Europe. "We have a rarity here, the crossbow of the main character, who used this crossbow in the film. The visitors can take the crossbow in their hands and even take a photo with it,"
the weapons manufacturer tries to attract people to visit Housův mlýn.
Materials for ladies
If you think that the sword you could see, for instance, Prince Caspian from the Chronicles of Narnia waving in the movie must be really heavy, you're completely wrong. The weapons and armors are made of various light materials, so that the actors wouldn't have to try so hard.
"Today's film industry uses a lot of materials. It all started with iron, which, of course quite, is way too heavy for actors, swordsmen or stuntmen today. So we use dural, a special flexible alloy. Various plastic materials are used as well. Even Jackie Chan, brought rattan blades with the rest of the weapon being made of plastic into the film world, and the paintjob is so on point that you'd never recognize it."