Knocked Up Audition 2007 Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigel

"Get out of the car!" Katherine Heigel

"GET OUT OF THE CAR" Katherine Heigel


Winning Audition

Directed by Judd Apatow.

Starring Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigel.

Knocked Up Audition clip shows the wonderful chemistry and comedic timing of Seth and Katherine.

I love the pacing that both actors are using. Seth stays calm and reasonable during his pauses which make Katherine's dialogue even funnier. I love the way Katherine whispers, and mouths, "Get out of the car" to Seth as he is hesitant to leave. The scene is so well done that Judd could have digitally put this audition scene in the movie.

I enjoy how each actor briefly glances at the script when they feel a need. They never break character nor distract when they steal a glance at the script on their laps. Seth plays the straight man to Katherine's comedy. Wonderful how Katherine actually convinces Seth to finally leave at the end of the scene. I really felt Heigel had finally convinced Rogen to leave the car. Enjoy!


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Trivia - Anne Hathaway was originally cast in the part Heigel won due to "creative differences" with the director, Judd Apatow. Anne was against using real footage of a child being born. In the end Judd could not get a child work permit for the new born, so no real birth footage was used in the final film.



An Affair To Remember (1957)

"If you can paint, I can walk - anything can happen." Terry

"If you can paint, I can walk - anything can happen" Terry

Classic

An Affair to Remember (1957) is the Mona Lisa of romantic films.

Directed by Leo McCarey.

Starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.

I've watched, "An Affair To Remember" countless times. I view the film to study Cary's impeccable acting technique. I could never understand, why I was drawn to the film itself. I decided to do a film review to uncover the attraction I hold for this film.

The story is pretty straight forward. Boy meets girls, they are instantly attracted to each, they each are spoken for, they fall in love, complications arise and in the end, they live happily ever after. I've seen this kind of film countless times and they've never caught my fancy in any language.

This film has always had a bewitching spell on me, Why?  The quote above caught my attention for some unknown reason. I decided to use it as the film's main quote and put it under the movies picture. As I read the typed quote, I started thinking about Cary's work in the picture and scenes from the film started flashing across my mind. Suddenly it dawned on me, why I was so, drawn to this picture.

The film seduces me, because it is a tale of redemption, forgiveness and hope. These are universal human themes that all adult audiences can understand regardless of their race, culture, education or background.
Both Cary and Kerr play individuals who have sold their bodies to others for a life of lavish luxury. Cary's character comes from a privileged background, Kerr's does not. Each sold their bodies to the highest bidder to attain wealth. As I looked deeper into the story, I discovered a subtle Catholic redemptive theme throughout the latter half of the film. Its theme is done as a subtext through visual images and alluded in references in the dialogue. The film gives hope to those who have fallen. "If you can paint, I can walk - anything can happen".

In the scene below, Cary's comedic timing powers is showcased. Watch how he instinctively reacts, mirror like to Kerr's every gesture without ever looking at her. Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan's, "A Street Car Named Desire", may have been the first to modernize acting, but Cary was the first to become his character and develop it throughout his life in both film and real life, without ever losing his sanity in public. I hope you add this film to your library. Enjoy!

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Trivia - Ingrid Bergman was originally chosen to play the Deborah Kerr role of Terry McKay.



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To Live And Die In L.A.

"And the check is in the mail and I promise not to come in your mouth..." Carl

"And the check is in the mail and I promise not to come in your mouth... " Carl


Classic

To Live And Die In L.A. (1985) is a film that peels off the veneer of criminals and law enforcement.

Directed by William Friedkin.

Starring William Peterson, John Pankow and Willem Dafoe among others.

Friedkin imbues the characters in To Live and Die in L.A. with a duality that blurred the lines of who they are and what they do for a living. The film does not follow the standard formula of good vs evil, or cops vs criminals. Friedkin's use of duality in his characters in this film reminds me of Wei-Kueng Lau's, Infernal Affairs (2002). Friedkin and Lau both show a world inhabited by characters that do both good and evil, depending on the situation and what they are determined to accomplish.

As an actor I was drawn to the artistry of its actors, cinematographer and the director. Peterson plays his cop as a flamboyant, reckless, immoral criminal while Dafoe plays his criminal as a poised, morally sound, methodical cop. Friedkin lets them and other actors in scene after scene improv their way through the story and film. The effect is at once jarring and suspenseful. I never knew where a scene was going or what the actors or director might do next. The ending is even more insane, because it continues after the end credits. Friedkin gives the audience an Easter egg as an ending.

As an audience member I wanted to inhabit the stylish, dangerous and reckless world Friedkin created. The use of color in each scene by Robbie Muller's camera work gives the audience the visual cues to understand the deeper meaning of a scene. Also of interest was the way Friedkin inserted brief flashback images for characters during important moments in a scene. Another aspect of Friedkin's work is the incredible detail in every scene. Of high note is the car chase and the counterfeit printing scenes.

In the scene below watch how Friedkin goes to a close up of Darlanne Fluegel's expressive face and suddenly we are watching the thoughts in her mind, played as a flashback. It gives a much deeper meaning to the scene and Darlanne's remarkable moment. Enjoy!


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Trivia - In the expressway chase scene, to increase audience tension, the forward direction of driving was switched from US right side of the road to British left side of the road. Peterson and Pankow's car is going forward correctly for US road traffic, while the oncoming traffic is going forward in a British left side traffic flow. The traffic flow becomes apparent, when in a long shot, Peterson's car switches to the left side traffic flow and the traffic is flowing in a US right side flow like Peterson's car.



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Great Expectations (1998)

"Everything I've ever done, I've done for you." Finn

"Everything I've ever done, I've done for you." Finn


Classic

Great Expectations (1998) is a spellbinding visual romance.

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron.

Starring Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Cooper, Hank Azaria, Robert Deniro and Anne Bancroft.

Alfonso starts the film by having Ethan say, "I'm not going to tell the story the way it happened. I'm going to tell you the way I remember it." Telling the story as you remember it, not as it happened, is the golden rule of cinema. Cuaron understood that Charles Dickens classic story needed a visual interpretation not a literary reproduction.

Film is a visual medium first and foremost. Get the visuals right and the audience will disappear into the story and elevate it to great heights. There are four key visual elements to why this film works for its audience. The director, cinematographer, artist and actors all help create a visually stunning story that allows the audience to inhabit the world they created.

The movie is breathtaking to watch. Giving a bit more background to each character would have helped the overall story. When a film has this many important persons, a director needs to find a way to give the back story of each character. Back stories help the audience empathize with each character's conflicts and dramas. I'm reminded of another film released at the same time as Great Expectations. Tom Tykwer, brilliantly handled all of his characters back stories in Lola Rennt - Run Lola Run (1998) by using photo montages. Each characters past, present and future were succinctly shown in a series of photos which informed his audience about their lives. I think back stories for each character are especially important for films using written works, as their source material. Audiences come into the movie theater having already read the story and are expecting the same level of character detail in its film version. The problem filmmakers have, is that cinema needs to condense a long story. Editing is a directors best friend in tightening a story. I need to mention the the art work throughout the film. It was created by Francesco Clemente. Francesco's art is haunting, moving, intimate and silently helps the narration of the story.

The scene below is a beautiful example of how Cuaron's masterful direction, Emmanuel Lubezki's opulent camera work and Steven Weisberg's stylish editing help make two children's simple kiss into an intimate adult memory for the audience. The power of cinema's visual grandeur to help an audience fantasize cannot be overstated. Enjoy!




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Trivia - Ms. Dismoor's mansion in Florida is actually Ca d' Zan. John Ringling, the founder of Ringling Brothers Circus, built it in Sarasota, Florida for him and his wife Mable.


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Serbuad Maut - Raid: The Redemption

"Pulling a trigger is like ordering takeout." Mad Dog

"Pulling a trigger is like ordering takeout." Mad Dog

Classic

Serbuad Maut - Raid: The Redemption (2011) is a horror film that is unrelenting in its one pursuit; Trauma.

Directed and written by Gareth Evans.

Starring Iko Uwais, Donny Alamsyah, Ray Sahetapy among others.

Raid is an Indonesian film that is directed and written by a Welshman.
It's budget was a modest $1.1 million and shot on location In Jakarta, Indonesia. What Gareth and his production team do with such a modest budget for an action film is utterly jaw dropping. Originally they planned to make a much larger budgeted prison film called "Berandal", but they were not able to raise the necessary funds. Instead Evan rewrote and changed the setting of Berandal and called it Serbuad Maut which takes place in a rundown apartment building in Jakarta. Sony Picture Classics acquired the US distribution rights after Raid was screened at The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Sony then acquired the sequel rights to Raid 2: Berandal, which is in post production and scheduled for a September 8, 2013 release in Indonesia.

I found myself on the edge of my seat throughout the film, as though I was watching a horror film. It wasn't until I discovered that Gareth has said, that he did Raid: The Redemption as a horror film. Makes sense because the action sequences are strung together one after the other for 90 minutes and they are as relentless, bloody and gruesome as any horror flick. At the end of the film I felt bruised, bloodied and beaten black and blue, like its characters. Gareth upends the traditional action movie by making Raid into a horror film in the way Darren Aronofsky turns Black Swan (2010) from a drama into a horror film. Gareth and Darren have upended the traditional genres of action and drama by adding a horror element to unsettle the audience.

Gareth succeeds, because he uses a wide angle lens for all the action sequences which allows the audience to marvel at the action. The editing kept the pace of the film fast, but then slowed down enough briefly to give the audience time to empathize with the characters plight. The scene below demonstrates Evans successful use of editing to slow the action pace for the audience. Note the impending horror film trauma and tension that is coming towards them. This is not your usual action film editing and its why it succeeds masterfully at drawing the audience's empathy. We as audience members can relate to their horror throughout the film.





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Trivia - All the guns firing in the film are replicas. The muzzle flashes, casing ejections were added digitally.



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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

"To be with another woman that is French. To be caught that is American." Inspector Andre

"To be with another woman that is French. To be caught that is American." Inspector Andre


Classic

Dirty Rotten Scoundrel (1988) is filled with rotten apples that are deliciously served.

Directed by Frank Oz.

Starring Michael Caine, Steve Martin and Glenne Headly.

Take three great actors, a madcap plot, an intelligent, well written script, the French Riviera and you have comedy heaven. The movie has a modest pace that gets its high octane humor from the marvelous chemistry between all three lead actors. The plot twists are imaginative and surprising. The story gets you laughing as you not only anticipate what will happen, but you can't wait to see how  the crazy scenes are accomplish. I found myself laughing from beginning to end.

Great comedy requires impeccable timing and surprising plot twists. This film has an over abundance of both. As an actor I was amazed at the chemistry between Michael Caine and Steven Martin. They played off each other wonderfully and allowed the other to take the reins of the scene as needed. This helped them, so as not to overwhelm each other at any given moment. There is a fine line, especially in comedy of not upstaging your scene partner. Neither Martin nor Caine ever crossed that mark. When Glenne steps into the picture she brings a soft touch to every scene she is in. It's as though she has a secret that she enjoys keeping to herself and the two boys find her irresistible.

The scene below perfectly illustrates how as an audience member you know what is about to happen is going to be hilarious and you can't wait to see what the story has in store for you. Now the actors take the scene and elevate it to slapstick nirvana with their comedic timing and physicality. As an audience member you know how the scene will end from the moment it starts. The film, EuroTrip (2004) has a similar approach in cluing the audience in on the joke early in a scene and then surprising them with an uproarious conclusion. This film should be in your library. Enjoy!




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Trivia - The young lady with long dark hair dancing next to Michael Caine is his real-life daughter, Natasha.



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Dr. No

"Bond, James Bond." James

"Bond, James Bond." James

☆☆☆☆☆  Iconic

Dr. No (1962) is a film that has always stirred not shaken our imagination.

Directed by Terence Young.

Starring Sean Connery, Ursula Andress and Joseph Wiseman.

Produced by Albert (Cubby) R. Broccoli  and Harry Saltzman, from Ian Flemings James Bond spy novels.

Dr. No is a producer's cinematic vision. Cubby and Harry set out to make a film that would allow them to create a franchise out of all of Ian Flemings spy novels. Saltzman had optioned the rights to the entire series of Bond novels from Fleming. No studio was interested and Harry's option was running out. Desperate to make a film from Ian's novels he agreed to partner with Albert. Cubby and Saltzman took their film proposal to United Artists and they agreed to only bankroll Dr. No for one million dollars. Later United would give the producers another one hundred thousand dollars for the ending.

Most of the cast and crew had worked with Cubby on other films and were quickly assembled. Albert and Harry originally wanted Cary Grant ( Who was the Best Man at Cubby's marriage to Dana Wilson) for James Bond. Cary would only do one picture and thought himself too old for the part (Cary was 58 years old in 1962. The producers turned to Sean Connery, who Cubby had seen in Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Ursula was hired a few days before filming started in Jamaica from a picture that her husband John Derek had showed the producers of her in a bikini. Joseph Wiseman was a noted theater and film actor who they cast for his ability to portray villains realistically.

The screen persona of James Bond's grace and style is that of its director Terence Young. Terence took Sean and tutored him in the arts of being a properly educated British gentleman, including trips to his tailor, cobbler and favorite London casino.

The scene below is the greatest character introduction in all of cinema. Its simplicity belies its impact on audiences and film makers. Director Martin Ritt used a similar simplistic approach in his darker and bleaker espionage film, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1965). In the clip below pay attention to what goes through your mind when Sean's face is finally revealed and he immortally utters in a suave, menacing, but seductive tone; Bond, James Bond. Enjoy!


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Trivia - The character of  "Q" was based on Charles Fraser-Smith who created spy gadgets for "Q-ships" used by MI-6 during WWI. These spy gadgets were called "Q-Devices".  



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Sanma No Aji - An Autumn Afternoon

"Drinking makes people talk to much." Shuhei

"Drinking makes people talk too much" Shuhei


☆☆☆☆☆ Masterpiece

Sanma No Aji - An Autumn Afternoon (1962) is a beguiling Japanese cinematic masterpiece.

Directed by Yasujiro Ozu.

Starring Chishu Ryu, Shima Iwashita, Keiji Sada among others.

An Autumn Afternoon was Yasujiro's last film and his most technically precise, especially with the modern addition of full color. Ozu's film reminds me of Kim Ki Duk's Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter And Spring in that both directors meticulously film every object and character is in perfect harmony with each other and their surroundings, as if they are achieving the Chinese symmetry of Feng Shui. If you look closely at each object in the background and foreground of every scene you will see the beautiful symmetry that the color film brings to life and how they help explain the traditions of the past.

In the scene below pay close attention to the foreground and background objects that talk of the past and how they contrast the modern dress of the men sitting in a classical Japanese way. Note how the sole woman in the scene is seated at another table apart from the men and her dress and her dialogue speak of the traditional ways. Also note how the men (who are the patriarchs of their respective families) are dressed in modern attire, yet speak of the traditions they were brought up in and how difficult it has been to modernize for the greater good for their children. The men take up the modern ways to provide for their families while the women keep the traditions alive at home. Yasujiro does all this subtle subtext throughout the film.

I might not understand as a western audience member the numerous details that Ozu places in each scene, but I grasp the duality that life presents in his film. Sanma No Aji (An Autumn Afternoon) should be in your life library. Enjoy!


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Trivia - There is no camera movement in the film. Ozu used a static camera for most of his later films.


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Carnage

"Morally you're suppose to overcome your impulses, but there are times you don't want to overcome them." Alan

"Morally you're suppose to overcome your impulses, but there are times you don't want to overcome them." Alan


☆☆☆☆ Great Performances

Carnage (2011) is a very enjoyable film that provides a good night of entertainment.

Directed by Roman Polanski from a Tony and Olivier Award Winning play by Yasmina Resa called God Of Carnage.

Starring Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet and John C. Reilly.

Carnage is a theater play turned into a movie that works, because of the actors performances. Roman directs it skillfully and lets the actors fill in the missing subtext. My only gripe with this film version of a theatrical production is that as an audience member I felt like I was viewing a play in a theater. Yasmina and Roman in wanting to keep the spirit of the theatrical play intact missed an opportunity in the film version to expand on its social themes. Film allows you to take and transport the audience to different places. Roman by keeping the camera so close to the actors made the viewers like me feel like they were watching a play.

Please note I never saw or heard of the play version (God of Carnage) before watching the film version (Carnage). Non acting friends have told me that they also felt like they were watching a theatrical production. It is not easy to transform a theatrical play into a film but it can be done. A Streetcar Named Desire  written by Tennessee Williams and brilliantly directed in both its theatrical and film versions by Elia Kazan. Elia understood the differences between what theater and film audiences need to take part in the drama that unfolds before them. In the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire, Elia wisely held the camera back and gave us room to explore the rooms and outside areas. Kazan's directing differences with the camera made audiences feel like they were transported to a film world and not a theater stage world. Roman still does a great job directing Carnage and its energetic cast.

In the scene below Christoph Waltz subtly pulls out his characters subtext using his cell phone. The actors do in each scene do a marvelous sub textual dance that draws you in an as audience member. At times I wanted to do some Carnage myself to these characters. What makes you enjoy Carnage is the actors who themselves are enjoying their respective roles. Christoph seems to enjoy it a little more than the others. Carnage is a fun film that plays like a theater piece. Enjoy!


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Trivia - Carnage was shot in real time, in one location with no breaks, as though it was in a theater. Only the park scene's where in a different location. 


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L 'Avventura - The Adventure

"Giulia is like Oscar Wilde. Give her all the luxuries and she will manage without the little necessities." Corrado

"Giulia is like Oscar Wilde. Give her all the luxuries and she will manage without the little necessities." Corrado


 Masterpiece

L 'Avventura - The Adventure (1960) is an Italian cinematic masterpiece that takes audiences on a visual adventure.

Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.

Starring Monica Vitti and Gabriele Ferzetti among many others.

The film was released at the same time as Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita. Fellini and Antonioni started the Italian New Wave. Both films were introduced at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival. Fellini's film won the Palme D'Or while L'Avventura took The Jury Prize.

The cinematography was by Aldo Scavarda and the editing by Eraldo Da Roma. I mention the cinematographer and the editor, because their work is so integral to the adventure Michelangelo takes his audience on.

L'Avventura is easy to understand if you allow the film's visuals and its long scenes (which lack the modern "Jump Cut" edits, created by Jean-Luc Godard for Breathless) to create your own story and narrative. The opening scene below is a perfect illustration of what Michelangelo, Aldo and Eraldo give the audience visually and editorially, so that the audience can make the adventure come alive for them individually. In the scene below the visuals not only help the audience to create their own story, but more importantly help Antonioni make scathing social commentaries on technology. Note the contrasting visuals between the old and the new in the scene. To the right we have an old sprawling villa with a magnificent Roman arch, whose surrounding Forrest's have been cut down to make way for modern tightly packed multi family housing. Also note the road that separates the old villa from the new apartment buildings heads towards a distant Renaissance Dome in the background. Antonioni is visually showing us the contrasts between the old ways and the new ways. There are many other contrasts between the old and new in the scene below, but I'll let Antonioni's visuals speak to you, so you can explore them for yourself and come up with your own story.

As an audience member I felt as liberated by this film as I do when I read a novel. Just as in a novel, Michelangelo keeps the dialogue simple and the visuals complex to allow me to explore his visuals at a readers pace, which like in a novel allows the audience member to create the story for themselves. Enjoy!



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Trivia - At the 1959 premier at the Cannes Film Festival, Michelangelo and Monica fled the theater, because the of the violent reaction from the audience to their film. It went on to win a Special Jury Prize. La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini won the Palme D'Or that year. 


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Natalie Portman Leon: The Professional Audition

"Is life always this hard, or just when you're a kid?" Mathilda

"Is life always this hard, or just when you're a kid?"  Mathilda


Winning Audition

Natalie Portman's original audition for the film Leon: The Professional (1994).

Directed by Luc Besson.

Stars Jean Reno, Gary Oldman and Natalie Portman among many others.

I enjoy watching, studying and learning from other actors auditions. In this audition you can already see that Natalie at such a young age had a good grasp of the character Mathilda during the audition. Natalie has very expressive eyes and face. The audition also shows off young Natalie's ability to let forth the subtext of the character. This is amazing considering how young Natalie was. Little Ms. Portman is also showing through her expressive eyes an actor who is constantly thinking. Watch Natalie in her Oscar winning role in Darren Aronofsky's, Black Swan (2010) and you will see how well she has developed her ability to express her characters thoughts through her eyes.

There seems to be about three parts to the audition from the breaks in the tape. Auditioning requires poise, stamina and fearlessness to survive multiple auditions. Sometimes the director knows right off you are what they are looking for. Other times you end up having to come back several times over many days, weeks and even months. Auditions make job interviews seem like an afternoon nap at the park. Enjoy!


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Trivia - Natalie was 11 years old at the time of the audition and was turned down by casting director Todd M. Thaler. She re-auditioned and the director, Luc Besson was, so impressed with her emotional range that he offered Natalie the part on the spot. 

EuroTrip

"Administer the testical clamps." Madamme Vandersexxx

"Adminster the testical clamps." Madamme Vandersexxx

☆☆☆☆ Classic

EuroTrip (2004) is a slapstick comedy gem not to be missed.

Directed and written by Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer.

Starring Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Michelle Trachtenberg and Travis Wester.

The story is about four recently graduated high school students from Ohio who leave for a trip through Europe before starting college in the fall. If as a child you enjoyed watching old episodes of The Three Stooges and Benny Hill and laughed yourself silly at their non-stop slapstick comedy then you will thoroughly enjoy Eurotrip.

The scene below is one of many that run the length of the movie and keep you constantly amazed at the ingenuity of each scene and the comedic timing of the actors. Comedy, especially slapstick only works if you surprise the audience with an absurd situation using flawless comedic timing amongst the actors in the scene. The scene below illustrates how funny an absurd situation becomes when you pair it with perfect comic timing. Note how the foreground actors react to each other and to the child imitating Hitler while marching Nazi goose step in the background. Reminds me of scene's from Frank Oz's, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) with Michael Caine, Steve Martin and Glenne Headly.

There are many off the wall situations that will leave you gasping for air. I have showed this little gem of a comedy to many of my Europeans friends and they laugh themselves silly throughout the film. Enjoy!


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Trivia - The entire movie was filmed in Prague, the Czech Republic.


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