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Roden at the 43rd KVIFF in July 2008
Life and career
Roden followed his father and grandfather into acting. Roden first graduated from the Comprehensive Art Secondary School for Ceramics before being admitted to the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.
Roden's feature film career began almost simultaneous with his theatre work in 1984 as Honza, a medical student in the 2nd part of a trilogy entitled "How the poets are losing their illusions" (Jak básníci přicházejí o iluze), a lighthearted, comic look at life through the lives of young university students. Roden's Honza also appeared in the final installation of the trilogy, "How poets are enjoying their lives" (Jak básníkům chutná život).
Other comic turns include Roden's Captain Tuma in "What Kind of Soldier" (Copak je to za vojáka), a humoristic look at life as a soldier in the socialist Czech army, the character Dragan in the action-thriller Dead Fish with Gary Oldman and Terence Stamp. In the comedy crime-thriller Shut Up and Shoot Me, Roden plays the hen-pecked husband hired to assassinate a grieving widow.
During the 1990s, he spent some time in London, which improved his English and gave him necessary exposure and access to the international scene. Hence, since being outside of Czechoslovakia he has become known mostly for his character actor roles which began in 2001 when Roden secured his first major role in the American psychological thriller, 15 Minutes, where he played the criminal Emil Slovak partnered with Oleg Taktarov opposite NYPD cop Flemming played by Robert De Niro. This was followed by a similar role, as the lawyer Carter Kounen, in the service of a vampire clan, in the movie Blade II in 2002.
This was followed by what became a series of type-cast roles including the action movie Bulletproof Monk, where he plays the Nazi megalomaniac Strucker. This was no doubt due to his heavy accent and distinct features, which bring him close to the stereo-typed Hollywood villain, although his voice was dubbed over by another actor in Blade II. This greatly understates, however, the plethora of characters he has portrayed throughout his career, particularly in Czechoslovakia.
His movie roles to date include 15 Minutes (2001), Blade II (2002), Bulletproof Monk (2003), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), as Grigori Rasputin in Hellboy (2004), Running Scared (2006), Largo Winch (2008), RocknRolla (2008), and Orphan (2009). He also played the Russian movie critic Emil Dachevsky in the film Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007). He played Noble Thurzo in Bathory (2008), co-production movie filmed by Slovak director Juraj Jakubisko, A Lonely Place to Die (2011) and a role as the Czech mobster Karel Benes in the TV series McMafia (2019).
For his main character in Guard No. 47, Karel Roden received the Czech Lion Award for Best Actor in Leading Role. 8 years later, he received the same award for the portrayal of Jan Masaryk in A Prominent Patient. He also received Alfréd Radok Award in 1998 for performing Bruno in Le Cocu Magnifique by Fernand Crommelynck. Other notable role was Don Juan in Grabbe's Don Juan and Faust (Divadlo v Dlouhé). He also appeared in two plays with his brother Marian. He was also a member of the prestigious Prague National Theatre. At the moment he can be found at Theatre Studio DVA in several performances.
Roden has also voiced Mikhail Faustin and Wade "The Fix" Johnson in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV.
|1987||Who's That Soldier?||Czechoslovakia||Captain Tůma|
|2000||Wild Flowers||Czech Republic||Dead Man - Soldier|
|2001||15 Minutes||United States, Germany||Emil Slovák|
|2002||Blade II||United States||Kounen|
|2003||Bulletproof Monk||United States||Strucker|
|2004||The Bourne Supremacy||United States||Yuri Gretkov|
|2005||Dead Fish||United States||Dragan|
|2005||Shut Up and Shoot Me||Czech Republic||Pavel Zeman|
|2006||Running Scared||United States, Germany||Anzor Yugorsky|
|2006||The Abandoned (2006 film)||Bulgaria, Spain, United Kingdom||Nikolai|
|2007||Mr. Bean's Holiday||France, United Kingdom, Germany, United States||Emil Dachevsky|
|2008||Bathory||Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, United Kingdom||György Thurzó|
|2008||Guard No. 47||Czech Republic||Frantisek Dousa|
|2008||Largo Winch||France||Michail Korsky|
|2008||RocknRolla||United Kingdom||Uri Omovich|
|2009||Orphan||United States, Canada, Germany, France||Dr. Värava|
|2010||Habermann||Czech Republic, Germany, Austria||Karel Březina|
|2011||A Lonely Place to Die||United Kingdom||Darko|
|2011||Alois Nebel||Czech Republic||the mute|
|2013||The Wrong Mans||United Kingdom||Marat Malankovic|
|2013||Frankenstein's Army||United States, Czech Republic, Netherlands||Viktor Frankenstein|
|2015||Sword of Vengeance||United Kingdom||Durant|
|2016||Murder in Polná||Czech Republic||Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk|
|2015||Photographer||Czech Republic||Jan Saudek|
|2016||A Prominent Patient||Czech Republic||Jan Masaryk|
|2016||We Are Never Alone||Czech Republic||Father|
|2017||Little Crusader||Czech Republic||Bořek|
|TBA||Medieval||Czech Republic||Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia|
|2003||Spooks||United Kingdom||Miroslav Gradic|
|2011||Terapie||Czech Republic||Dr. Marek Pošta|
|2012||Missing||United States||Viktor Azimoff|
|2018||McMafia||United Kingdom||Karel Benes|
|2008||Grand Theft Auto IV||Mikhail Faustin, Wade "The Fix" Johnson|
- "Karel Roden – Juraj Thurzo — Actors — Bathory — Czech Television — Czech Television". Ceskatelevize.cz. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
- Spáčilová, Tereza; Efler, Vojtěch; Záhorková, Jana (7 March 2009). "Filmem roku se stali Karamazovi, pro Českého lva si došel i Havel". idnes.cz (in Czech). Mladá fronta DNES. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
- "Roden Karel « Studio DVA divadlo". www.studiodva.cz. Retrieved 4 March 2019.