Ivan Trojan, Czech Actor, to Get Karlovy Vary Festival Award 5

Czech actor Ivan Trojan doesn’t need much introduction in his home country. But organizers of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF) helped foreigners who may not have immediately recognized his name when recently unveiling that the star would receive the President’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Czech Cinema at the closing ceremony of this year’s 58th edition of the fest. “Ivan Trojan is one of the most frequently cast Czech actors in film television, and theater of the past quarter century,” it highlighted.

Fans of the 2013 HBO Europe miniseries Burning Bush, directed by veteran Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, which depicted the turbulent events of the Prague Spring, may remember him as the morally ambivalent police detective Jires. THR‘s review at the time described the actor as “Czech household name and Billy Bob Thornton lookalike Ivan Trojan.”

Holland directed the star again in the 2020 film Charlatan, about Jan Mikolasek, a revered faith healer known for his herbal remedies. “A figure of blinding light and darkest shadow, he springs ambiguously to life … in a dazzling perf by top Czech actor Ivan Trojan,” THR‘s review highlighted.

Trojan, who was born in 1964 in Prague, has been a regular at the KVIFF. For example, he is a patron of the non-profit Club of People with Cystic Fibrosis, whose activities were highlighted at last year’s festival. This year’s fest opens on June 28, two days before his 60th birthday.

But there is so much more to the man and his career. With that in mind, here is THR‘s look at five other things to know about Ivan Trojan.

He Holds the Record for Winning the Most Czech Lion Awards
Presented by the Czech Film and Television Academy, the Czech Lions honor excellence in both big-and small-screen productions. Trojan has received a record 12 nominations in the best actor and best supporting actor categories and a record seven wins, namely five best actor and two best supporting actor trophies.

His most recent win was in 2021 for Charlatan, with his other best actor awards coming for Nowhere in Moravia, In the Shadow, Václav and Smradi, his first big Czech Lion honor in 2003. That year, Trojan also won the best supporting actor award for his role in Musím te svést, following that up with another supporting trophy the following year for Jedna ruka netleská.

The star had made his start on the stage though. “After graduating from the Theater Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU), Trojan worked with the Realistic Theatre and the Vinohrady Theatre before, in the second half of the 1990s, becoming one of the central figures of the newly established ensemble at Prague’s Dejvice Theatre,” KVIFF said in unveiling him as one of its honorees this year. “In 2000 he earned a Thália Award for the title role in Oblomov, in 2012 he received the Alfréd Radok Award for his performance in the theater’s iconic production of A Blockage in the System, and in 2022 his part in Petr Zelenka’s Fifty earned him the Theater Critics’ Award.”

Then he was discovered for the silver screen. “Trojan’s film career began its meteoric rise at the turn of the millennium,” KVIFF highlighted. “He was first discovered for the big screen by director David Ondříček, who cast him as the neurotic Ondřej in his comedy Loners, a role that brought Trojan his first nomination for a Czech Lion Award” in 2001.

To Czechs, he is particularly well known for his box office hits Angel of the Lord (2005), about a hapless angel who gets exiled from Heaven to Earth where he is reincarnated as a beggar, and Angel of the Lord 2 (2016).

Trojan’s Family is Full of Creatives
The star is far from being the only one with the entertainment and culture bug in his family. He is the son of theater, TV and film actor Ladislav Trojan and the brother of producer and director Ondřej Trojan.

The actor is also married to actress Klára Pollertová-Trojanová. They both were in the 2012 movie In the Shadow.

Trojan has also appeared in films directed by his brother, such as Želary (2003), which was nominated for the Academy Award for best foreign-language film and is about a nurse who is part of the resistance in 1940s Czech Republic and must find a place to hide, and The Banger (2020), whose plot description says it is “a comedy about what one summer storm, one city ordinance, a set of golf clubs, rock and roll and one very angry daughter can do.”

Trojan Has Done Much Dubbing Work
KVIFF highlighted the many talents of the Czech star in announcing it would honor him. He “has long lent his acting talents to radio plays and dubbing as well, and he has also tried his hand at directing at his ‘home’ theater, the Dejvice Theatre,” it said.

How about that dubbing work? Providing the Czech voices for the likes of Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer in 24 and Thomas F. Wilson’s Biff Tannen in Back to the Future would be enough to get most actors’ attention.

But Trojan has done much more work behind the dubbing mic than that. He has also provided the Czech voices of characters like Mikey (Bruce Willis) in Look Who’s Talking, Pete Becker (Jon Favreau) in Friends, Marlin (Albert Brooks) in Finding Nemo, Master Monkey (Jackie Chan) in Kung Fu Panda, Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie) in Monsters Vs. Aliens, and Makunga (Alec Baldwin) in Madagascar: Escape to Africa.

Trojan is Also Widely Known for His TV Crime Series Roles
In the Czech Republic, the star has also been a regular and familiar face on TV. He appeared in the historical police series Cops and Robbers from 1997 until 2007, as well as in several crime shows directed by Jiří Strach, such as Satan’s Stratagem (2009), Lost Gate (2012), and The Associate Professor (2023).

Lost Gate features a murder mystery and a mysterious, coded medieval text that keeps a religious scholar on his toes as he must search for answers in ancient underground tunnels in Prague and a Masonic lodge, among other places.

Meanwhile, the starting point for Satan’s Stratagem reads like this: “A girl is found dressed only in a blood-soaked outfit, with weird diagrams drawn in blood onto her stomach along with 666 on her forehead. She is not injured but remembers nothing.”

Finally, The Associate Professor sees Trojan star as docent Otto Stehlík, who uses unconventional methods to help a policewoman track down a cold-blooded serial killer in an odd-couple crime story.

He is a Big Soccer Fan and Actually Played, Briefly, in a Big League Game
Many actors, in Hollywood and beyond, have earned reputations for being big sports fans. But how many have actually stepped onto the pitch to play in a professional match?

Trojan has. He has long been known for being a huge supporter of the Prague soccer club Bohemians 1905, which competes in the top Czech league in the team’s traditional green-and-white-striped jerseys. Its most famous player ever, Antonín Panenka, is now the club’s chairman.

In 2009, when he was 44, Trojan even played for Bohemians 1905 in a competitive match against FK Ústí nad Labem in the Czech league. It was only for a few minutes, but a player page on the club’s website still lauds him as an “all-rounder in reserve.”

Karlovy Vary organizers are surely aware of his passion for soccer, but the fest will honor him for what he is best known for – his all-rounder talent as an actor.

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