Director Bohdan Sláma, whose film Štěstí swept the Czech Lions back in 2006, is set direct a new film version of one of the Czech Republic most beloved creations: The Good Soldier Švejk.
The news was announced yesterday as the project was awarded a record-high 17 million grant by the Státního fondu kinematografie (State Fund of Cinematography), topping the 15 million CZK that went to Filip Renč’s Lída Baarová, which was released earlier this year.
The Good Soldier Švejk, from the classic series of satirical novels written by Jaroslav Hašek and most famously illustrated by Josef Lada, is not just one of the Czech Republic’s most popular pieces of literature – the titular character has become a national personification.
Doing it justice might be a difficult task, especially after two filmed versions in the 1950s that now stand as definitive adaptations. They starred legendary actor Rudolf Hrušínský in the title role, casting that couldn’t have been more appropriate.
Who will play Švejk in Sláma’s new film? Comedian Pavel Liška, the director reportedly told iDnes.cz.
While Liška doesn’t physically resemble anyone’s ideal Švejk, he’s an interesting choice for the role, with a droll sense of humor well-suited to the material.
Sláma spoke with famed director Miloš Forman, according to the interview, who advised him that “war must really be war, with all the horrors.” Forman’s ideal Švejk? Charlie Chaplin.
Further details about the project, including anticipated filming and release dates, have yet to emerge.
Sláma’s project isn’t the only recent adaptation of the Švejk in the works. Jitka Němcová had been preparing a TV series starring Matěj Ruppert in the title role, though its fate is currently unknown.
Past adaptations of note include a silent 1926 movie directed by Karel Lamač and a Jiří Trnka stop-motion animated film in which Jan Werich provided the voice Švejk.