Willem Dafoe breaks for Ukrainian borsch while filming ‘Nosferatu’ in Prague

Production is underway on Robert Eggers long-planned remake of the silent German Expressionist horror classic.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 22.03.2023 13:48:00 (updated on 22.03.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Hollywood actor Willem Dafoe stopped by a Vinohrady restaurant for some Ukrainian borsch this week. The actor is in town to film the remake of “Nosferatu,” currently shooting in Prague’s Barrandov Studios.

“Today a real film star visited us to try authentic Ukrainian borsch. Willem Dafoe told us that he likes borsch and as a proof eagerly ate a bowl of our tasty mushroom borsch,” the Boršč said on Instagram.

“The owner cannot come to her senses after treating such an esteemed guest,” they added.

The Boršč opened in late 2021. The relatively small eatery, with just a handful of tables and a bar, does most of the business via takeaway or delivery. Natalia Bas and Alex Martynov, the husband-wife duo from Kropyvnytskyi, Ukraine, who runs the bistro told Forbes they started it because there was no similar place serving Ukrainian cuisine using bona fide Ukrainian recipes.

Previous versions of the film had scenes shot in Czechoslovakia

The second remake of the silent-era vampire film is being directed by Robert Eggers, whose previous films include “The Witch,” “The Lighthouse,” and “The Northman.” Dafoe appeared in the latter two films.

The 1922 version of “Nosferatu” was an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula,” with names and locations changed. Some scenes were filmed at Orava Castle in Slovakia.

The film was remade once already in 1979 by director Werner Herzog as “Nosferatu the Vampyre,” using the Czech castle Pernštejn as well as Slovakia’s High Tatra mountains as locations.

In this new version, Dafoe plays Professor Albin Eberhart Von Franz, a character who did not appear in previous adaptations.

Dafoe told the film website Collider he enjoyed working with Robert Eggers on “The Lighthouse” and “The Northman.” “I'm just happy to be back with him. … He's a great filmmaker, and I enjoy his company,” he said. He explained that he grew a mustache and sideburns for the role.

Clapper for 'Nosferatu.' Photo: Facebook, Barrandov Studios
Clapper for 'Nosferatu.' Photo: Facebook, Barrandov Studios

Eggers has long hoped to make a version of “Nosferatu,” and he announced it as his next project in 2015, after the success of “The Witch.” It was delayed in favor of other projects. Eggers as a teen directed a stage version of “Nosferatu” and he credits the film with sparking his interest in a career in cinema, according to a 2016 interview in Indiewire.

Rumors that the film was headed to Prague first began to circulate almost a year ago, before casting was even complete.

The film stars Bill Skarsgård as Count Orlok, the vampire modeled after Count Dracula. Nicholas Hoult plays Thomas Hutter, a real estate agent who travels to do business with the count, and Lily-Rose Depp plays Ellen Hutter, who attracts the interest of the count. Other cast members include Emma Corrin, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Simon McBurney, and Ralph Ineson.

Dafoe previously appeared in another 'Nosferatu' film

This is not Dafoe’s first experience with the vampire tale. He appeared in “Shadow of the Vampire,” a dramatic telling of the making of the 1922 version of “Nosferatu.” Dafoe earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Max Shreck, the actor who played Count Orlock. The film was shot in Luxembourg and was released in 2000.

Dafoe was previously in Czechia in 2016 as a guest of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, where he was awarded a Crystal Globe for his career and attended screenings of Abel Ferrera’s “Pasolini” and Martin Scorsese's “The Last Temptation of Christ.”

Prague coincidentally will soon be home to more of the undead, as the second season of “Interview with a Vampire” begins filming in Prague in April, with the city doubling for Paris, according to the Toronto Star.

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