It may be difficult to believe that the slightly wiry and gaunt Czech actor Karel Roden is the same presence who made the Earth tremble as barrel-chested Grigori Rasputin in Hellboy (2004) -- consider it a testament not only to the magnificence of Hollywood special effects, but to Roden's raw versatility. Born in Ceské Budejovice, Czechoslovakia, in 1962, Roden studied drama in Prague and evinced a stunning ability to immerse himself into -- and flesh out -- almost any character. This quality soon carried over into his film and television roles. He tackled most of his early parts in his native country, in such little-seen-abroad films as the 1990 Cas Sluhu and the 1999 Praha Ocima. 2002's Blade II, however -- produced by Marvel Comics and Avi Arad -- finally brought Roden the attention of a wide international audience. He followed it up with a number of additional Hollywood pictures done in a similar genre vein -- usually effects-heavy action or fantasy romps. These included not only the aforementioned Hellboy, but Romeo Is Bleeding (1994), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), and Running Scared (2006). In 2007, he appeared in the comedy Mr. Bean's Holiday as a Russian film director named Emil.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Born in a family of actors, his father, grandfather and brother are also actors.
- Studied at the Comprehensive Art Secondary School for Ceramics.
- During the 1990s, studied acting in London and improved his English.
- Appeared in plays with his brother Marian.
- Winner of the prestigious Czech Lion Award.
- Was a member of the Prague National Theatre.