Petr Jákl on Capturing Medieval with a Stellar Cast
Dec 22, 2022
A battle for control over the Holy Roman Empire is launched by feuding brothers King Wenceslas (Karel Roden) of Czech and King Sigismund (Matthew Goode) of Hungary after the death of its emperor. Lord Boresh (Michael Caine), under the command of King Wenceslas, hires Jan Žižka (Ben Foster) to kidnap Lady Katherine (Sophie Lowe) in spite of her lover Lord Rosenberg (Til Schweiger), who is under the command of King Sigismund. Wrapped into the feud, Lady Katherine begins to grow sour over the monarchs’ treatment of the peasants, eventually falling in love with Zizka as the blood and brutality continues to escalate.
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Medieval was recently released in theaters on September 9 and will become available on digital on October 25 and on DVD and Blu-ray on December 6.
“I’m so happy that it’s out right now… I get responses from people telling me that they are proud they are Czech because it’s about their history,” commented writer and director Petr Jakl.
Medieval is Based on a True Story
“It’s one of the most famous figures in our history,” explained Jákl, referring to Žižka. “We learn about him at school, and he basically was never defeated, like Alexander the Great, and this story is set 18 years before he became this legend. He’s a paid mercenary, to show that he was paid for killing people, and then he decided to fight for something else for higher reasons… It was very important for me to make it more about his personal life, why he fights for what he believes in.”
A story that is important and close to Jákl in both history and in the creation process, as his father is also credited as a writer on the film. “We started this together. He was always helping me and suggesting stuff. He was my best dramatist and helped me a lot.”
“I always wanted to have this story be as close to the reality as possible. We don’t know much about young Žižka from those days. We knew that he was a mercenary, and we used everything from the politics, used everything to describe the period, the people, to make it as real as possible… all the fights, costumes, weapons, everything feels like medieval times,” Jákl continued.
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Stellar Cast of Medieval
Foster, Caine, Schweiger, Goode, Roden, Lowe; the cast of Medieval is stacked. “I didn’t know how to direct Michael Caine,” commented Jákl, “it’s Michael Caine. Of course the others, too, but when he said yes I was like, ‘What can I tell him?’ So I was like, ‘Michael, what do you think? How can we do it?’ and he said, ‘Just tell me what you want, and I’ll do it.’ So I told him what I wanted, and he did exactly that. Then he said, ‘Okay, do you want something to change? Maybe you could change this?’ and then he did it. It was an unbelievable experience for me. I had many great actors on set, and to do scenes with all of them together was a really cool experience.”
“I enjoyed the whole process,” he continued, though noting that shooting on set, of course, comes with additional stress, “but on the other side, I love working with actors… we had fun which was great and energizing.” Lowe echoed similar sentiments in a previous interview, as she recalled the energy Foster and his cast mates brought to set. “Ben Foster’s group, they were together like three months solid, and so we all just bonded really well. We’d all hang out and have nights out, and now it just feels like they’re family. The guys still talk, and they would go to the gym together really every day, just getting jacked, competing with each other in the gym because they wanted to get strong to play their characters,” said Lowe.
Which certainly reflects well on screen given the outcome of the film. Medieval is a production of J.B.K. Film, Genesy, and Double Tree Entertainment. It is distributed by The Avenue.
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