‘Totems’, with Lambert Wilson and Ana Girardot, now shooting in Prague

Totems (Opérations Totems), a Cold War-era series starring Niels Schneider, Vera Kolesnikova, José Garcia, Lambert Wilson and Ana Girardot, is now shooting on location in Prague. The French-language series is produced by Amazon and Gaumont, and slated to premiere in late 2021 on Amazon Prime.

Set in the midst of the Cold War in the mid-1960s, Totems follows the experiences of a French scientist who is recruited into working as a spy for the French Secret Service and the American CIA. His allegiances are tested when he develops a relationship with a Russian pianist working for the KGB.

French Canadian actor Niels Schneider (Xavier Dolan’s Heartbeats) and Vera Kolesnikova (The Bureau) will feature in the primary roles, with support by Lambert Wilson (Merovingian in The Matrix films), José Garcia (Now You See Me), and Ana Giradot (Escobar: Paradise Lost). Wilson previously starred in the Vin Diesel sci-fi film Babylon A.D. and the Richard Donner sci-fi thriller Timeline, both of which were also shot in Prague.

Olivier Dujols (Falco) and Juliette Soubrier (Zone Blanche) serve as series creators and writers, with François Uzan, Thibault Valetoux, Julien Anscutter and Sabine Dabadie also among the writing staff. Episodes of the series will be directed by Jérôme Salle (Anthony Zimmer, which was later remade as The Tourist), Antoine Blossier and Frédéric Jardin.

Among other potential locales, Prague will fill in for locations in the Cold War-era USSR for production on the series. Local casting agencies in the Czech capital are currently seeking extras to portray Russian scientists, soldiers, and factory workers.

The series is also set in locations in Paris, East Berlin, and North Africa, which Prague may also double for.

Production on Totems began in Prague last month, and is expected to run through the end of June.

Totems has been slated to premiere on Amazon Prime to viewers worldwide in late 2021, though that date may be pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Production in Prague was rescheduled from a original planned start date in 2020.

While residents of the Czech Republic can purchase and view Amazon Prime through Amazon.de or other worldwide Amazon portals, a localized Czech version of Amazon is not yet available. Without a VPN or similar service, viewing options from a Czech IP address are largely limited to Amazon Prime original programming.

Lead photo: Lambert Wilson in Barbecue (2014)


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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