Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen will return to the Czech Republic later this year to shoot King’s Land, a period drama for director Nikolaj Arcel, according to an announcement made yesterday at the Cannes Film Festival. Mikkelsen and Arcel previously teamed on A Royal Affair, which was shot in Prague and other Czech locations and scored an Academy Award nomination in 2013.
King’s Land, their latest project, is set in the 1700s, when Danish King Frederick V ordered that his nation expand to the wild heath of Jutland, a peninsula that now makes up the majority of Denmark. At the time, the land was considered uninhabitable, until Danish captain Ludvig Kahlen volunteered to cultivate it.
“What’s so important about the heath in 1750? You want your kids to survive. You want the country to expand, you want to have a nation,” Mikkelsen said yesterday at Cannes.
“As a country, as a nation, it was extremely important – to be a strong nation you needed to make sure that you could develop the land where you were living.”
Mikkelsen would presumably play Kahlen, though casting details, including other members of the King’s Land cast apart from Amanda Collin (HBO’s Raised by Wolves), have yet to be announced.
The script for King’s Land has been adapted from the bestselling Danish novel The Captain, written by Ann Barbara by Ida Jessen. Anders Thomas Jensen, who wrote and directed the recent comedy-drama Riders of Justice, also starring Mikkelsen, has penned the screenplay.
“I love Mads as an actor, he’s the best,” Jensen said at the Cannes announcement.
“It’s a good story about a man who will die to obtain his goal. It has all the elements of a grand drama: love, death, fights, drama, even wolves.”
King’s Land is produced by Zentropa, with a budget of €8 million (about 200 million crowns) making it one of their largest productions in recent years.
Czech locations to be utilized for King’s Land have yet to be revealed, but both Prague and rural areas of the country, filling in for untamed Jutland, are possible. Filming will also take place in Germany and Denmark.
Mikkelsen and director Arcel previously filmed A Royal Affair throughout the Czech Republic, with scenes shot at Barrandov Studios and on the streets of Prague. It was also filmed at Kroměříž Castle and Ploskovice Chateau, filling in for royal 18th century locales in Denmark.
“I loved every second of working with him, I loved the result, I loved preparing,” Mikkelsen said of director Arcel.
“I go with the things that I like and that interest me, and if it’s family and old friends that’s an easy pick.”
In addition to shooting A Royal Affair in the Czech Republic, Mikkelsen also shot scenes for the Bond film Casino Royale in Prague and Karlovy Vary. He landed that role because he happened to be shooting the film Prague in the Czech capital in 2005.
And King’s Land may not be the only project Mikkelsen shoots in the Czech Republic this year. Frequent collaborator Thomas Vinterberg, who directed Mikkelsen to acclaimed performances in The Hunt and Another Round, is set to begin filming his TV miniseries Families Like Ours in Prague this summer. Casting details for Families Like Ours have yet to be announced, but it might fit into Mikkelsen’s busy schedule.
Filming for King’s Land will kick off in September in the Czech Republic, Germany, and Denmark, with a shoot running about two months.