Underworld: Blood Wars, the fifth instalment of the popular vampire saga, was shot on Czech locations and stages and with a Czech film crew in 2015. Now Czech audiences can see it on the big screen; the US release is planned for January 6. Underworld: Blood Wars, directed by Anna Foerster, is a production of the L.A.-based Lakeshore Entertainment, which is present in Prague through its European branch. Stillking Films was line producing.

© Screen Gems, © Lakeshore Entertainment

The scene of the Eastern Clan’s council meeting was shot in the library of Kačina Castle / © Screen Gems © Lakeshore Entertainment / Source: Falcon, www.falcon.cz

“Lakeshore Entertainment founded its European office Lakeshore International in Prague in 2012. But were in touch since 2010, right after the production incentives were launched in the Czech Republic. Lakeshore consulted several projects with us and I am happy we convinced them that Prague was the right place for their European office they were planning to establish,” said Czech film commissioner Ludmila Claussová. “And Underworld: Blood Wars is the first film shot in the Czech Republic under the wings of this Prague branch,” added Claussová.

The Underworld saga combines the action, horror and fantasy genres and has millions of fans all over the world. In its latest instalment, Underworld: Blood Wars, the war culminates between the two bloodthirsty clans, the aristocratic Vampires and brutal Lycans. Vampire death dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale), the main character of the saga, has to fend off brutal attacks from both the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. With her only allies, David (Theo James) and his father Thomas (Charles Dance), she must stop the eternal war between the Lycans and Vampires, even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.

“The characters in our film, vampires and werewolves, are immortal. Many of them are hundreds of years old. You couldn’t shoot this film in America. You can’t find any suitable locations. Perhaps only some desert or jungle. But we needed a city which would look ancient and make you believe that it existed a thousand years ago. There are not many places like that, though. But Prague certainly is such a place,” said producer Richard S. Wright in an interview for the Czech News Agency in December 2015.

The Czech Republic offered us extraordinary talent including production designer Ondrej Nekvasil

Gary Lucchesi, producer Lakeshore Entertainment

The words of Gary Lucchesi, a veteran Lakeshore Entertainment producer, confirm this: “Prague was a fantastic city in which to film Underworld: Blood Wars. The city of Prague is beautiful, and the countryside offered us wonderful exterior locations including the Lipnice and Kacina Castles. We made Barrandov Studios our home and used it’s large, world-class sound stages to build enormous sets. Most importantly, the Czech Republic offered us extraordinary talent including production designer Ondrej Nekvasil and camera crew, gaffer Vaclav “Enzo” Cermak and key grip Karel “Kodl” Charvat. We had a truly wonderful experience and cannot wait to film in Prague again.”

Richard S. Wright highly values the work of the Czech design and construction departments: “We had to imitate stone, build caves and simulate snow-covered castle walls. We made the surface of a frozen lake.  It’s all very difficult stuff and you really need to know what you are doing to make it work. The quality of the sets we built in Prague is exactly the same as it would be if we were building them in Los Angeles, London, New York or Vancouver,” he said.

The remarkable production design of the film is, to a great extent, the result of the work of the Czech production designer Ondřej Nekvasil, who primarily reached international recognition thanks to his work on director Joon-Bo Honga’s futuristic Snowpiercer, which was shot in the Czech Republic in 2012. Nekvasil was also the production designer for Unlocked, directed by Michael Apted and starring Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom and Michael Douglas (shot in Prague in 2014) and Neil Burger’s Illusionist with Ed Norton and Jessica Biel (2006). Nekvasil is currently concluding his work on the History Channel show Knightfall, a television series that has been filming on Czech locations since July 2016 and focuses on the final days of the Knights Templar in the 14th century.