Danish epic ‘The Bastard’, starring Mads Mikkelsen, now shooting in Prague

The Bastard, which was announced at the Cannes film festival earlier this year under the title King’s Land, is now shooting on Czech locations outside of Prague. Mads Mikkelsen stars in the new film as Danish soldier and explorer Ludvig Kahlen, who tamed Denmark’s wild Jutland in the mid-1700s.

Czech locations outside of Prague will stand in for the wilds of Denmark in the 18th century for the new movie. Filming for The Bastard will also take place in Germany and Denmark.

After a career in the Danish military, Kahlen attempted to cultivate mainland Denmark for years on the orders of King Frederik V. The Bastard recounts his attempts to tame and colonize the previously-uninhabited lands in order to spread civilization and generate taxes for the crown.

Production company Zentropa has released the first images from the Czech set of The Bastard outside of Prague. At a budget of 8 million euros (200 million crowns), it’s one of the studio’s biggest films in years.

The Bastard is directed by Nikolaj Arcel, who previously teamed with Mikkelsen on the Oscar-nominated 2012 historical drama A Royal Affair, which was also shot on locations in Prague and the Czech Republic. Arcel most recently directed the 2017 Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower, which starred Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba.

In addition to Mikkelsen, The Bastard stars Amanda Collin (Raised by Wolves) as Ann Barbara, a mysterious woman who joins Kahlen’s efforts. Simon Bennebjerg (Borgen) will play Frederik de Schinkel, a local landowner who stands in their way.

The cast also includes Gustav Lindh (The Northman), Kristine Kujath Thorp (Ninjababy), Morten Hee Andersen (Margrete: Queen of the North), Jacob Lohmann (Riders Of Justice), Magnus Krepper (Queen Of Hearts), and Felix Kramer (Dark).

The Bastard has been adapted from Ida Jessen’s novel The Captain and Ann Barbara by director Arcel and Anders Thomas Jensen. The two previously co-wrote Riders Of Justice, which Jensen directed and Mikkelsen starred in.

Mikkelsen has shot multiple movies in the Czech Republic. Prior to A Royal Affair, Mikkelsen also shot scenes for the Casino Royale in Prague and Karlovy Vary. He landed the role of Bond villain Le Chiffre because he happened to be shooting the film Prague in the Czech capital in 2005.

The actor seems to be a fan of Prague’s Asian cuisine. He’s been spotted dining at Asian Temple and Korean restaurant Matzip in the center of Prague.

“Mikkelsen visited 6 times out of the 7 days this week and tasted pork belly, soybean paste stew, kimchi stew, pork feet, and sundubu stew,” a Matzip employee told Korean media.

“He seems to like Korean food. He left saying ‘see you,’ so I think he will return.”

Look for The Bastard to hit cinemas next autumn; the film is currently eyeing an October 2023 release date.

Photos courtesy Zentropa / Henrik Ohsten

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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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