Ron Howard filmed Einstein drama in Prague
Director Ron Howard was a key member of the creative team that filmed Albert Einstein drama series Genius on location in the Czech Republic, doubling the country for locations including the US.
Genius is made by US TV studio Fox for National Geographic – the series is the network’s first scripted project – and features Geoffrey Rush as the iconic German-born physicist.
The story follows his historic scientific breakthroughs and his life in Switzerland and then in the US where he settled in the 1930s when Hitler came to power in Germany.
National Geographic has commissioned further series in the anthology strand that will focus on other individuals who have been considered geniuses in world history.
Czech locations stood in for all the various story settings for the Einstein series. Fox had previously worked in the country on the contemporary-set Sean Bean TV drama Legend, so the producers knew the city well.
Howard was an executive producer on Genius through his company Imagine TV and directed the first episode. Stillking serviced the shoot locally.
“The TV series shot all over Czech Republic – in Prague, Liberec, Plzen and Loket,” says Stillking’s David Minkowski, in comments to KFTV.
“The country was chosen because it could so effectively double for the key locations in the story, and because the studio – Fox – and producers have worked with us before on other series.
“They knew the locations were right, the incentive programme works well, and the crew and infrastructure are strong. As Ron Howard was directing, everyone came together to make sure we put together a world-class operation. I think the final product reflects that.”
Most of the 88-day shoot was on location, with German signage and other forms of set dressing used to disguise the streets of the Czech capital and other parts of the country.
“In some cases very few changes were necessary, but in other cases the transformation was extensive,” Minkowski says.
“For instance, a scene through one of Berlin's main thoroughfares saw us bring in more than 70 period vehicles, including an old tram painted to the yellow of Berlin's old trams, and German language signage for several blocks including a cinema and famous old Berlin department store.”
The Czech Republic is a popular Eastern European filming location with a competitive 20% incentive. Barrandov Studios offers sound stages and back lot facilities in the capital.
In the past year the country has doubled for 1st century Britain in the UK drama Britannia and hosted the high-end historical drama Knightfall, which tells the story of the Knights Templar in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Genius image: National Geographic Channel/Imagine. Prague image: iStock.com/courtyardpix