Playwright Havel makes debut as film directorLast Updated: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 CBC News Vaclav Havel, shown on May 20, 2008, is adapting his play Leaving for the screen. (Petr David Josek/Associated Press)
Former Czech president Vaclav Havel is making his debut as a film director in a screen adaptation of his play Leaving.
Shooting begins Thursday in Ceska Skalice, 130 kilometres northeast of Prague, a spokesman for Havel said.
The acclaimed dissident playwright tells the story of a national leader making his exit from politics in the satire, which opened in Prague two years ago.
Leaving made its North American debut in Philadelphia last week. The work pokes fun at the political process, and the main character has a world-weary cynicism.
The film version will star Havel's wife, Dagmar, who was scheduled to appear in the stage production in Prague but pulled out because of health problems.
Havel admits Leaving, his first play in 20 years, is based on his own experiences, but insists it isn't an autobiography.
Havel, now 73, was a leader of the Velvet Revolution that helped overturn communism in the Czechoslovakia. He was president from 1989 until 1993, when the country split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.