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Interview – Balazs Juszt – ‘The Man Who Was Thursday’ – A Feature Film


Posted June 28, 2016 by

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Interview – Balazs Juszt

The Man Who Was Thursday is a metaphysical thriller chronicling Father Smith’s Faustian descent into the Roman underworld. Following a disgraceful turn at his local parish Father Smith is called to Rome for spiritual rehabilitation. Upon his arrival, Charles, the man who introduced him to the faith, reveals the real reason Smith was brought to the Eternal City; to go underground and ascertain the mysterious leader of an anarchist group of renegades, whose leaders are each code-named after the days of the week. Smith accepts this mission and ultimately unearths the true leader of the group, but not before experiencing a litany of mind-bending twists and turns.

Writer/director Balazs Juszt’s received an MFA in producing at UCLA and studied under Academy Award winner Cathy Schulman. He was an assistant director to the Oscar winning director István Szabó on Relatives, his other work includes; The Kiss Goodnight, It Happened in TLV, Lethologica, What If? and Split Perfect, which was picked up in Cannes by OriGine Films.

Francois Arnaud stars as Thursday, he is known for playing Cesare Borgua in Showtime’s The Borgias and starred in I Killed My Mother. He will be appearing as the lead in NBC’s upcoming show Midnight, Texas. Jordi Molla appears as Charles, his previous film credits include Blow and Knight and Day. Ana Ularu plays Saturday, she appeared on The Borgias and Outbound, Ana will soon be appearing in Ron Howard’s Inferno and will be the leading lady in NBC’s upcoming Emerald City. Mark Ivanir who plays Jack, appeared in Schindler’s List, The Good Shepard and Big Miracle.

Guy Moshe and Matthew G. Zamias produced The Man Who Was Thursday via Picturesque Films and Esther Turan of Moviebar Productions co-produced. The film is financed and executive produced by Cobera Capital and the Berlin based production house Bulldog Agenda.

Interview – Director, Balazs Juszt:

To begin with, tell us about your latest film, ‘The Man Who Was Thursday’…

It’s an unnerving experience, a metaphysical thriller inspired by G.K. Chesterton’s novel of the same title from over a hundred years ago. A disgraced priest is summoned to Rome for spiritual rehabilitation, but is offered a way out by the Vatican Intelligence Service: to infiltrate an anarchist group and find its leader, where each member is named after a day in the week so they themselves don’t know who the other person is and as it turns out, they’ve all been recruited  by the VIS. It’s a story of doubt, the ultimate fight between good and evil and it’s a wild, wild ride for anyone who was a fan of Polanski’s Tenant, 9th Gate or Jacob’s Ladder or Angel Heart.

Where did the idea for the film come from?

Our family friend and my personal mentor, Oscar-winning director of Mephisto, István Szabó was the first to tell me about this book over lunch and the idea immediately stuck with me. It’s the premise every tyrant thrives on: installing fear into a group that wouldn’t otherwise exist, giving them the false image of a non-existent enemy they have to “fight”. It’s this common enemy that can summon the troops and by the time they realise they’ve been set up, there is no common enemy, there is nothing, but your own fear, it’s too late.

Tell us about the cast, who is staring in ‘The Man Who Was Thursday’?

The incredible François Arnaud leads the cast in the title role, whom I’ve known from Xavier Dolan’s I Killed My Mother, but he’s also widely known from The Borgias and numerous other indie films. He’s currently top lining NBC’s Midnight, Texas. Ana Ularu is Saturday, who’s an extraordinary talent, a force of nature and the one of the wackiest humans I’ve ever known. She’s currently also starring in Inferno with Tom Hanks and is also playing the West in Tarsem’s upcoming NBC series, Emerald City. Seasoned actor and the most impeccable gentleman of many talents, Jordi Mollá of Blow and Bad Boys II plays Charles, the VIS agent and the phenomenal Mark Ivanir from Schindler’s List, and his Emmy-nominated role in Homeland plays the all-seeing blind bartender, Jack. There are also Hungarian, Greek, Italian, Venezuelan actors in the film, so it’s a truly international cast.

What are your influences as a director? 

Polanski for sure, but I adore Jean-Pierre Melville (there are a few homages to him in this film, especially to Le Samurai) and I get a huge kick out of Fellini, but who doesn’t?!

When & where can we expect to see ‘The Man Who Was Thursday’?

It’s just bowed internationally, there are several festival invites already and hopefully it’ll see wider distribution down the line.

What is the next step for you? Do you have any other projects in production?

I’m working on an eight-episode mini series based on the real life exploits of a KGB-Mossad double agent during the hottest era of the Cold War, that is a serious kick and a super exciting project. I also would like to follow Thursday with a more commercial deliberation of the same basic premise, transcend the art-flair, if you will.

One Comment

    Lorraine Smutzler

    I live in NY and François Arnaud is my favorite actors I am collecting all his movies in series is there any way I can get a copy of this flim

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