Czech police cars and a Prague tram in an American film. The action blockbuster The Gray Man is the number one most watched title on Netflix.
The attempt at a “Mabe-by-Netflix” James Bond builds primarily on spectacular and spectacular action dominated by Prague locations. The filmmakers, led by Avengers directors Joe and Anthony Russo, left nearly CZK 300 million in Prague during the fortnight-long shoot, according to Collider magazine.
The espionage thriller set in the US Secret Service, starring Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans and Ana de Armas, had a budget of $200 million and was produced by Stillking Films for the Czech side. Prague has portrayed Bangkok, Vienna, Berlin, but also itself. You will see some scenes here: the Vítkov Memorial, the Square of the Republic, the Trade Fair Palace and the Dukla Heroes’ Avenue.
“A mysterious CIA agent uncovers secrets that could destroy the agency. A former colleague gone mad then puts a bounty on his head and chases him around the world,” Netflix beckons with its new action-packed masterpiece that’s shaking up social media.
“One of the biggest and most impressive of the nine incredible action sequences takes place in Prague. In the sequence you have Gosling under fire, lots of cops and private assassins trying to catch or kill him,” says Collider magazine in an interview with the film’s directors, who produced the film under the auspices of their own production company AGBO.
“Filming almost killed Anthony and me. I’m not kidding – by the end of the shoot, we were absolutely exhausted,” shares director and screenwriter Joe Russo. He was referring to the large number of intense action scenes, which are full of chases, fights and shootouts in the streets of Prague, that made it into the trailer. In the film, the Prague action scenes last almost 20 minutes and are dominated by the cars of domestic police officers.
Russo adds that every scene needs a lot of thought and care during the preparation before it goes on set. “The shooting itself is still quite demanding, just like cutting at night,” the director shared details about the demanding filming process. “Apart from Chris Evans, we hadn’t met anyone who was so good at stunts and fights until we came across Ryan Gosling,” the director added.
The American crew, in cooperation with Czech filmmakers, filmed scenes in Holešovice, in front of the Rudolfinum and on the Čech Bridge, which represented corners of Prague, Vienna and Berlin. The Karlín complex Futurama Business Park was used to portray Bangkok.
The shots of Prague were sometimes supplemented by skyscrapers and high-rise buildings. The dominant feature of the Prague shoot, however, is an action sequence with a tram and Czech police officers, which became an Internet hit.
With a budget of $200 million, the film surpassed Netflix’s most expensive film to date: the gangster film Irishman by legendary director Martin Scorsese, which cost “only” $159 million. It took ten years to get The Gray Man ready and the premiere took place in 450 cinema theaters in America.
“Number 1 on Netflix” with an average rating
Critical ratings and reviews are rather embarrassing and rather mediocre. While the American film database Rotten Tomatoes holds an average rating of 47 percent, the Czech-Slovak Film Database rates the film at 61 percent.
During its opening weekend, it topped the tracking charts. The Gray Man is Netflix’s most-watched film. On opening day, it was number one in 91 countries,” the Russo brothers wrote on Twitter. He added that they were proud of the cast and crew as well as the viewers who watched the film.
“For all its over-the-topness, The Grey Man is loads of fun. Ryan Gosling enjoys every moment while Chris Evans devours the action set pieces. Even if they’re hackneyed elements, they’re not unwatchable,” writes film critic John Anderson in a review for the Wall Street Journal.
“A mysterious CIA agent uncovers secrets that could destroy the agency. A former colleague gone mad then puts a bounty on his head and chases him around the world,” Netflix teases in its new film.