At 16, the young Czech actor Jiri Madl was poised to become a professional ice hockey player, but an elbow injury prevented him from pursuing this dream. Faced with a serious change in his plans and armed only with his experience in high school plays and drama classes, he auditioned for – and ultimately won the leading role – in Karel Janák’s comedy Snowboarders. Awarded the Czech Lion for the most successful film of 2004, Madl was simultaneously the youngest person ever named to the Personalities of the Czech Republic list by the Czech MF DNES Magazine.

Following the success of Snowboarders he took on three more comic roles: Taming Crocodiles (2006), Rafters (2006) and, with his “cinematic father” Karel Janák, Rock Con Artists (2006), a black comedy about young musicians in Prague. Feeling the need to move away from comedies, he was cast in Tomás Vorel’s The Can (2007), a film about students and the graffiti community.

His first English-language performance came in the 2008 Bathory, directed by legendary Slovak director and European Film Academy member Juraj Jakubisko. Shortly after, he starred in Night Owls (2008), directed by Oscar Nominee and Berlin International Film Festival award-winner Michaela Pavlatova. His role in this film made him the youngest recipient ever of the Crystal Globe for Best Actor at the 2008 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

He has been working continuously since. These projects include the 2011 International television co-production Borgia, directed by The Downfall’s Oscar-winning Oliver Hirschbiegl. A dream came true when Jiri was cast in Bohdan Slama’s Four Suns (2012), Juraj Nvota’s Konfident (2012), and Miloslav Smídmajer’s comic revisit to the 1980s I’ll Wake Up Yesterday. I’ll Wake Up Yesterday was very successfully released in May 2012, and Madl immediately went into a new film: Lousy Bastards, a roman á clef written and directed by Roman Kasparovsky, and produced by Filip Cermák and Karla Stojáková.

His latest film was Colette released in 2013. In this Holocaust drama (based on a true story) he starred together with a french actress Clemence Thioly. Madl has been passionate about learning foreign languages, having studied at several institutions including learning English at the British Council, Italian at the Instituto Italiano di Cultura, and German at the Goethe Institute in Berlin.

Now 27, Jiri wrote and directed his first feature film To See the Sea.