Biopic captures troubled times of diplomat and president’s son, Jan Masaryk

Masaryk is the name of a new Czech, Slovak, and German co-production focusing on dramatic years in the life of Jan Masaryk, the son of Czechoslovakia’s first president, who served as ambassador to Britain. The story, directed by Julius Ševčík, focusses primarily on the years leading up to WWII, most notably the signing of the Munich Agreement in which Czechoslovakia was abandoned by its allies and large parts of the country were ceded to Nazi Germany.

Karel Roden, Julius Ševčík, photo: CTKKarel Roden, Julius Ševčík, photo: CTK A teaser trailer for the upcoming film Masaryk reveals what the filmmakers called a dark period in Jan Masaryk’s life, when he lost his father and, like his fellow countrymen and women witnessed the annexation of parts of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany following the Munich Agreement. Masaryk, portrayed by Karel Roden, in the clip, is seen falling into a lifestyle of debauchery and drugs, snorting a white powder, for example, while trying to uphold his role as a patriot and politician in exile, whose broadcast speeches are remembered to this day. Roden, by now, is no stranger to playing members of the Masaryk family: he recently played the part of Czechoslovakia’s first president, T.G. Masaryk in the TV series Zločin v Polné (A Crime in Polná); the actor admitted that the role of the troubled son, Jan, was the character he had the greater affinity for:

“I had basic knowledge about the both of them, both Jan and the president. This film, I think, went into greater detail and the character of Jan Masaryk was closer to me than T.G. Masaryk.”

Karel Roden, photo: CTKKarel Roden, photo: CTK Director Julius Ševčík told Czech TV he wanted to get behind the façade of the well-known public figure. “The story is not only about the republic but about Masaryk’s soul. It is about Jan Masaryk’s journey from paradise to hell and back… It is not a film about iconic politicians but is about people. There are women, drugs, and high politics. The tale is complex.”

The film, to premiere on March 9 next year, will also star Czech actors Oldřich Kaiser and Jiří Vyvorálek; one of the women that the character of Masaryk gets involved with is played by Czech supermodel Eva Herzigová. Karel Roden himself will be familiar to English-speaking audiences for his roles in past films such as 15 Minutes and Hellboy; the actor even voiced the part of a Russian character in the video game Grand Theft Auto 4.