7. September 2015

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Shooting of Anthropoid, the latest film by British director Sean Ellis, wrapped on Sunday, 6 September. The historical thriller set during World War II follows the lives of Jozef Gabčík and Ján Kubiš, Czechoslovak paratroopers who in 1942 helped assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, the top Nazi leader and SS general known as the "Butcher of Prague".
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The crew began filming the wintertime scenes on July 20 in the forested hills of the Brdy military area – covered in artificial snow – from where the British-French-Czech production then moved to Prague. Here, the filmmakers had to take on several challenges: for example, the street on which the assassination took place more than 70 years ago, V Holešovičkách, had changed beyond recognition – and a replacement had to be found. The crossroards in front of the famous Villa Bílek, near the magestic Prague Castle and Chotkovy orchards, were a perfect stand-in for the site of the attack on Heydrich. But filming the dramatic stand-off at the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius on Resslova Street in the city centre – where the resistance fighters fought the Gestapo, who tried to smoke them out with tear gas and latter flooded the church – posed a greater production challenge. The solution was to build a complete replica of the church's interior at Prague's legendary Barrandov Studios. The set measuring 15 x 35 x 14 metres took eight weeks to make, even with 40 people working on the project. Exterior scenes were then filmed in front of the church on Resslova Street. Other locations included Prague Castle's main courtyard, where Sean Ellis shot the last scene of Anthropoid (the name of the secret operation to kill Heydrich).
Director Sean Ellis is an incrediblely hard worker and evoked a fantasticly authentic atmosphere.
During filming, however, producers kept the shooting schedule secret, including for scenes at other Prague locations (Invalidovna, Zvonařka, Šafaříkova Street, etc.), because the two stars, Jamie Dornan and Cilian Murphy, have stirred such excitement among fans – and crowds of girls taking selfies would have complicated the shooting. Although the film is an international co-production, directed by a Briton with the leads roles of Gabčík and Kubiš played by Irish actors, there where no concerns about the authenticity of this purely Czech story. "Director Sean Ellis is an incrediblely hard worker and evoked a fantasticly authentic atmosphere," David Ondříček of Czech co-producer Lucky Man Films, told Czech Television. Apart from Sean Ellis having been interested in the subject for more than 15 years, the director also had on hand an expert advisor from the Military History Institute in Prague. He also engaged a dialogue coach to teach Dornan and Murphy the Czech accent. But the filmmakers, says one of Anthropoid's producers, Pete Shilaimon, were not just attracted by the actual Czech historical locations – film incentives played an equal role. "It's a Czech story, so the authenticity of settings was 50 per cent of the decision for us. The the film incentives were the other 50 per cent," he says. Filmmakers spent over 163 million crowns here with incentives reaching around 32 million. Anthropoid's producers have big plans for the film and believe the historical drama will have its world premiere in May 2016 at at the Cannes Film Festival.