Eye For Film - At Bleecker Street's Anthropoid première in New York with Cillian Murphy, Jamie Dornan, Anna Geislerová, Charlotte Le Bon and director Sean Ellis - attended by Pico Alexander, Christian Campbell, America Olivo, Pia Glenn, Christine Jansing, Laura Michelle Kelly, Michael Mailer, Jason Mann, Thomas Matthews and Dan Abrams - I spoke with the very busy actors.
Sean Ellis's Anthropoid is "based on actual events" and focuses on
Josef Gab?ík (Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubiš (Jamie Dornan), two of the
men parachuted into Czechoslovakia from England by a Royal Air Force
plane to prepare for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich (Detlef
Bothe). There they contact the small remaining band of resistance
fighters, headed by Toby Jones as Uncle Hajský. Mrs. Moravec (Alena
Mihulová) is the landlady who gives Jan and Josef shelter. She has a
lanky, brave, violinist son At'a (Bill Milner).
Charlotte Le Bon as Marie and Anna Geislerová as Lenka at the New
Year's Eve dance into 1942, an event packed with Nazis, are reprimanded
by their dates, Gabcík and Kubiš, for looking too pretty. "Lipstick gets
you noticed … and gets us shot." says Josef. The two girls who started
out as beards soon turn into love interests. Marie confides to Jan on
one of their outings: "I don't know what I'm doing." To which he
responds, "You're doing fine."
Operation Anthropoid was the code name given to the mission to
assassinate Heydrich, then the acting Protector of Bohemia and Moravia,
nicknamed the "Butcher of Prague." Heydrich, one of the highest-ranking
Nazi officials, had been chairing the Wannsee Conference in January 1942
where the "Final Solution" was set into motion.
Anne-Katrin Titze: You are playing a real-life hero, a very impressive man. How much research did you do?
JD: A lot. You know, I feel it's one of the lesser
known events during the Second World War. I didn't know anything about
it. But there is still plenty of information you can find. I think both
Cillian and I had a good grip on who these guys were and why they find
themselves in the position they did and why they responded the way they
They were very different characters, you know, and hopefully that
comes across in the film. I find it very relatable in terms of the
vulnerability and the panic that would set in for a normal person in
such an abnormal situation. They are true heroes but they are true
heroes because they are just young men. They respond the way any of us
would. There is nothing superhero about them. And that's why I think
that story in itself is so relatable.
Director/cinematographer/co-writer Sean Ellis had a very specific way of working.
JD: I have worked with directors who didn't even have story
boards. Sean took it to a whole other level. He had figurines of us
doing each action. He lit them in a way that he wanted to light them on
the day. The attention to detail was incredible. It's very rare with
filmmakers these days. I'd never experienced that before.