David Minkowski Talks Prince Caspian

Associate Producer David Minkowski discusses the Czech Republic leg of the Prince Caspian filming. Read the complete interview at the Czech Film Commission site.

HN: In April you will begin filming in the Czech Republic The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. How is work proceeding on the film?

It’s all going very well. Right now it’s shooting in New Zealand, then in a couple days the staff will relocate to the Czech Republic, where they will film until August. Right now there are 300 to 400 people working in Prague on pre-production [Note from NarniaWeb: Prince Caspian has now begun filming]. At Barrandov and at the studios at Modrany we have a total of seven sets, plus they’re building a giant set on the backlot at Barrandov.

HN: What will the time-table of shooting look like?

First we start at Modrany, then we transfer to Barrandov and then a week in Poland. After that we return to Prague and to Ústí nad Labem and around there. Actually we will have in the Czech Republic two crews – one will film 11 weeks in Ústí and a second in Prague. The first crew will then move to the mountains in Slovenia. The filming there will be very demanding in terms of travel and logistics

HN: Unlike the first Narnia film the majority of the scenes of the new film will be shot in Prague. How did you convince the film’s producers, Walt Disney and Walden Media, to do it this way?

Prague has good infrastructure and conditions – big studios, offices, film crews and equipment, everything you need. What’s more it’s a good base if you need to film in other locations in Europe, like in Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia or Poland. So if you need to travel every week to a different location, Prague is a natural centre for filming.

HN: But the first Narnia shot only a few scenes here …

That’s because of the weather. We need summer and in New Zealand it’s just ending and we can’t shoot there in winter.

HN: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe cost about USD 180 million to make. A sequel to a commercially successful film is usually more expensive than the original. Is that the case with Prince Caspian?

It’s case by case. In 2004 we shot Alien vs. Predator, and that was the least expensive of the Alien films. As for The Chronicles of Narnia, I think it could be true. Prince Caspian is definitely a big film.

HN: How much of the total budget for Prince Caspian are Disney and Walden Media investing in the Czech Republic?

I suppose that the net investment will be around USD 30 million to USD 40 million. That includes the construction of the big sets, renting the studios, filming in Ústí nad Labem, contracting hundreds of crew members and so on. I’d say that it’s the biggest film ever shot here. The total amount that Prince Caspian is bringing to the Czech Republic will be even bigger – that investment, which will flow into the Czech economy, will have further economic effects, for example in paying for housing services, feeding crew members, etc.

HN: How many Czech filmmakers are employed on this film?

The majority of the crew will be made up of Czechs. If we don’t count the workers who are building the sets, there will be on the sets in film crews about 900 people. That’s a lot.