A week ahead of its premiere in the Czech Republic and other territories, the Czech epic Medieval (titled Jan Žižka for local release) hopes to generate some buzz with a gruesome red-band trailer that showcases some of the bloody practical effects work utilized in the film.
Limbs are severed, throats slit, and skulls bashed in the latest trailer for the film, which seems to live up to its name. Medieval stars Ben Foster as the Czech hero Jan Žižka, who defended Prague from invaders during multiple wars in the 14th century.
While Medieval’s previous trailer focused on the film’s fictional plot, this one goes for the throat. You can watch the full trailer below, but you’ll need to sign into YouTube to verify your age:
At a budget of approximately 500 million crowns ($20 million), Medieval has been touted as the most expensive Czech movie ever made. The movie was shot four years ago and repeatedly delayed in post-production due to the pandemic and other obstacles.
In addition to the bloody new trailer, a Czech-language featurette detailing how the filmmakers accomplished the intense action scenes has also been released for local audiences.
“Žižka knew very well that he could not compete with the quantity and quality of his opponents’ armor, so he used weapons that were close to his people – modified sickles, maces, flails, things that they could handle, Medieval director Petr Jákl states. “He used them, remodeled them, and turned them into combat weapons.”
According to the director, Jan Žižka was the world’s greatest innovator of military strategy. It is said that he never lost a battle in his lengthy military career, despite being blind in one eye for most of it and completely blind during his final years.
“Even today, [Žižka] is still celebrated as one of the greatest generals in the world,” Jákl adds. “I wanted these details to be in the film, and we showed his cleverness during the story, how he was able to fight and how he used weapons.”
Filming the combat scenes was especially challenging for Medieval’s props department, which employed hundreds of weapons for use in the film.
“There were around a hundred actors’ weapons, in total over six hundred weapons were used in the film. Prop weapons were made of duralumin and aluminum to make them lighter, some even had rubber parts. Copies of them were also made,” said one of Medieval’s weapons handlers.
“The type of weapons was also chosen according to the type of character. Someone has two swords in the movie, someone has a big axe, someone has a mace, someone has a club.”
Director Jákl, a former stuntman, took pride in Medieval’s fight scenes as well as the fact that no major injuries occurred on set.
“The smaller the number of people on the set, the better the choreography has to be. The fights have to be more elaborate and we put a lot of emphasis on the fact that the actors and stuntmen train together,” he said.
“Gradually, we created interesting fights, during which luckily no one got hurt, which is quite a miracle in itself. It was an incredible undertaking at times, but due to the fact that it was well prepared, there were no major injuries.”
Though filmed in English, Medieval will screen in a Czech-dubbed version on most local screens – check local cinema listings for the original English-language version. Medieval opens in Prague from September 8 before a limited release in the United States from September 9.