Unity Phelan as the Ballerina in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)

John Wick spinoff ‘Ballerina’, with Ana de Armas and Keanu Reeves, wraps Prague shoot

Ballerina, a spinoff of the John Wick franchise that stars Ana de Armas and Keanu Reeves, officially wrapped production in Prague earlier this month. The new film shot on locations around the Czech capital as well as in Moravia in addition to Prague.

In addition to support from the Czech Film Fund (Ballerina managed to register in 2021 before the suspension of film incentives, which remains in effect), the John Wick spinoff was also supported by the city of Prague.

In the Czech capital, Ballerina shot on location in and around the National Theatre, which serves as a backdrop for one of its major action set pieces. Filming took place in the foyer of the Laterna Magika at the National Theater’s New Scene (Nová scéna), as well as the terrace of the National Theatre and nearby streets in the area of Národní třída.

Production of Ballerina at Prague’s National Theatre

Elsewhere in Prague, Ballerina shot at the Masarykovo nádraží train station, the Negrelli Viadukt on Křižíkova street in Prague 8, areas surrounding busy Dlouhá street in the city center, and alongside the Czech capital’s embankments alongside the Vltava river.

In Ballerina, Ana de Armas stars as an assassin named Eva who is trained by a fictional Russian mafia organization. Keanu Reeves shot scenes for Ballerina in early November, but was reportedly only in town for a couple weeks, indicating his role in the film would be minor. The actor recently confirmed this in an interview with Total Film, where he discussed shooting for Ballerina in Prague.

Len Wiseman has a vision, but is also embracing, affectionately, the world of John Wick. Ian McShane is in it as Winston. So I felt that there was a cool handoff of stewardship, and it was fun to put the suit on again, however briefly,” Reeves stated.

“There’s a reason for [John Wick] to be in Ballerina; it’s very organic. And working with Ana was great. She really loves action, and she’s really good at it.”

Before wrapping production earlier this month, star de Armas learned that she had been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in Blonde. While on a Christmas break from shooting in the Czech Republic, the actress talked to Jimmy Fallon about shooting action scenes with Reeves in Prague.

Alongside Reeves and de Armas, Ballerina co-stars Norman ReedusGabriel ByrneCatalina Sandino MorenoAnjelica HustonIan McShane, and Lance Reddick. Len Wiseman is directing Ballerina from a script by Shay Hatten and Emerald Fennell.

Prague is used to playing other cities both contemporary and historical, but local officials would like to see that change in the future, in an attempt to highlight the modern face of the Czech Republic and further increase tourism to the capital.

“Filmmakers like Prague, but often its streets and houses are only used as backdrops for the cities of Eastern or post-Soviet countries in the films,” Prague city councilor Hana Třeštíková says in a press release regarding the production of Ballerina.

“I am all the more happy that we were able to support several films in the next foundation call, which will show Prague as Prague and thus help attract cultured tourists to the metropolis.”

The Prague Foundation Audiovisual Fund (formerly the Prague Film Fund) contributed about two million crowns ($90,000) towards the production of Ballerina in Prague.

The Czech Film Fund likely contributed significantly more to Ballerina‘s shoot. The similarly-sized Extraction 2 was allocated a total of 365 million crowns ($15 million) in potential incentives by the Czech Film Fund, estimating that the project would spend 1.8 billion crowns ($75 million) in the country.

Given recent changes to the Czech Republic’s tax rebate plan, however, projects the size of Ballerina and Extraction 2 are unlikely to return to the Czech Republic in the near future.

Pictured at top: Unity Phelan as the Ballerina in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)


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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