The actor breaks down his latest film Munich – The Edge of War.
With it being the middle of winter, we’re spending our days curled up in front of the TV hot beverage in hand and a gripping show to hold our attention. And this week’s must-watch is the German/British drama Munich – The Edge of War. Having had its first premiere last year autumn, the highly anticipated war film landed on Netflix this past week and takes us back in time to the 1930s. Bringing Harris’ 2017 novel of the same name to life, we’re introduced to two friends on different sides of a brewing war desperately trying to seek a peaceful solution. Filled with nerve-shredding scenes and sharp clean cinematography, the film smoothly navigates its way through the character’s complex backstories and journies.
“I want people, especially young people to take an understanding from this film.” Jannis Niewöhner revealed when discussing the film. “I hope people can connect to this part of history. It tells an interesting story of friendship and I think that is a very important thing.”
Taking on the role of Paul von Hartmann, Jannis becomes a reluctant spy, as he goes against his country in order to rekindle his friendship with Hugh Legat and expose the Nazi Party for what they really are. Catching up with us virtually, Jannis breaks down his role in the film, the importance of war films and how he’s ready for the next step.
Check out the interview below…
Hey! How have you been?
Ah, it’s been great actually. I’m in Munich! I took a. year of for a bit of a break, and I went to London for about a month or so. But year, it has been a great year!
And during the pandemic did you pick up anything funny and unusual skills or anything at all?
No, not really. I mean, I was so lucky to be able to continue working, right, because I did a movie and then we, during the movie, the pandemic started and we had to shut down. And then three months later already, we were able to continue working, which was great.
That’s quite lucky as well a lot of people couldn’t film for like, a year or so. Even now some people can’t film or they’re reshooting loads of things.
Absolutely and people started to work at home, right. But we were able to be on set with like 70 guys everyone will be tested in the morning. And so it was able for us to work creatively together.
And how did you first get involved with the film?
I think because I did a movie before with Christian Chabot. He gave us the opportunity to learn about our history and about society and politics. Germany is one of the most interesting countries for its history and was interesting to learn. He was eager to tell this story and give us a real sense of that period and time. With that being said he also wanted to make the story accessible by creating interesting multi-dimensional characters. So I knew when he asked to be a part of that I couldn’t say no.
How did you first approach your role like when you first got the script? Like, how did you go into it?
Yeah, yeah I mean, we had loads of stuff to read to do our research, we had a whole website that was being made for the whole team so we can look up things about our characters, or the real-life person our fictional characters were based on. Actually, I didn’t know that, that much of that part of history. I didn’t know much about the Munich Agreement. I didn’t know much about Chamberlain. So for me, it was, you know, also, as an actor, it was interesting to do it but at the same time, for me as just a person was great to learn more about this part of history.
What’s one thing you took away from the role, that you would say?
That’s there is the possibility to change and there is the possibility, you know, to be wrong in a certain belief, but then change it and fight for the right thing. And that even though sometimes, fighting doesn’t feel like it worked out, it’s still right, to try and to attempt to fight.
And I want to ask about your character Paul as well. He goes through a lot of inner conflict and turmoil within himself. Do you think he navigated the situation well? Or do you feel like he could have been better in certain aspects?
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, he could have thought about who he is supporting when he was a supporter of Hitler. Yeah, definitely. And later on. Yeah, I mean, it’s not easy. He’s not a hero. He’s really fighting for the right thing. Yeah, but he struggles with himself and fighting with himself whilst he’s doing that, but I think that makes him so interesting. And he’s not this very shallow yeah, hero person who’s yeah, he’s in a big conflict with himself and what he did and what he feels responsible for.
Could you relate to him in any way? The decisions he kind of made, in a sense?
I could relate to the thought that you supported the wrong thing and that it came to the moment where you understood this was the wrong direction and now I have to change it and I feel so responsible for it and, and self-hatred also that must come up. And no, I mean, I have no specific biographic events, which would make me being able of feeling that, but I have a connection to it and it makes sense for me.
What do you kinda hope people take away from the film when it comes out?
I hope that they have an understanding, I just hope that they can open up that conversation especially for young people’s people. I hope that they can open up to this part of history.
What’s next for you, what are you kinda most excited for?
So I did a movie, which is called Last Sum and that was also a movie in the Second World War, about a young Jewish girl. Other than that, there are some interesting stories coming up and movies, I’m really looking forward to it.