‘The King’s Man: the first mission’: the characters and real stories of the film that you will not believe they are

The prequel to the saga portrays several real people, and you will be surprised to find that there is more to the truth in the film than you thought.

The new film in the saga of the most popular secret agent agency, The King’s Man: the first mission, tells us the origins of this organization in which action is the key. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Tom Hollander and Harris Dickinson, it has surprised us with the inclusion of several villains, and historical characters based on real characters. Although the story is pure fiction, Several of the anecdotes that the film tells of these characters are surprisingly true. We tell you who they are and what is true about what they tell us in the prequel to the saga, also directed by Matthew Vaughn.

The film explains why the secret agency was born, and goes back a century, in the germ of the First World War. Karl Gajdusek, who co-wrote the script with Vaughn, explains that the idea was to make a “punk, borderline and mischievous” version of the story and “how it was conceived in very crazy circumstances, the First World War,” explains the screenwriter.

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But what actually happened to what is in the film?

The scriptwriter clarifies it:

“The data is correct, the events we are telling are correct, even what happened in the story and some of its characters are true. We have only suggested what happened behind the scenes, in the rooms where the great war that took place took place. It left millions of deaths around the world, “the scriptwriter explains in the production notes.

The actor Daniel Brühl, who plays the real character Erik Jan Hanussen there is an almost educational point in the film: “It has a bit of a very entertaining history class, although they have reinvented the story, the real characters intrigue you and you learn something about how a key chapter in recent history was conceived,” says the interpreter. The King’s Man, the first mission presents key figures that existed at that moment in history, and what the fiction of the film adds, is to connect them with each other, and make them part of the same organization orchestrated by a single villain with the sole objective of destroying European societies of the moment.

A dancing Rasputin, smeared with custard and memories of the shoot. This is how the secret agency folklore was created in ‘The King’s Man: The First Mission’

The director even adds: “We wanted the kids of the 21st century to see what happens when the world is ruled by crazy people, and that is that things can get out of control very, very quickly, ”says Vaughn.

“And the current political climate is very similar to the one we had in the world before World War I in which nobody, at that moment, could imagine that there would be a war, and then there was a war, and nobody could understand why it happened. World War I was pure madness and The King’s Man was founded for that, “says the director and screenwriter.

Fictional characters

It’s this movie about madmen who rule the world, fictional characters are the good guys. Specific the Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) and his son (Harris Dickinson); and his cohort of spy servants. The magnificent and faithful bodyguard, Shola (Djimon Hounsou) of African descent and who has always looked after the family, and the brilliant nanny, or housekeeper, Polly, played by Gemma Arterton and described by the director as a kind of ” Mary Poppins Rockera “. The entire team is portrayed as a faithful, strong, noble, courageous and upright family. Too bad they are not real. Nor is the character played by MaƩhew Goode real.

The death of Archduke Ferdinand

The moment of the attack in the film.

The film portrays the murder of Archduke Ferdinand, in Sarajevo, what is considered like the detonator of World War I. And although the film seems all part of a great action scene, surprisingly it has more to do with reality than an uninformed viewer might think. The perpetrator of the crime Gavrilo Princip (Joel Basman), who is portrayed in the film, assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Francisco Fernando and his wife Sofía with several shots.

But unlike what appears in the film, his death was part of a terrorist plot by a Bosnian group, in which five people were posted on the route to kill him. It does include the real part of the scene: like when a grenade is thrown at the entourage. In the film it is one of the protagonists who deflects it with his cane, but in the real story the hero was the driver, who managed to avoid it.

The Great War, spies and even a karate Rasputin. We visited the filming of ‘The King’s Man: The First Mission’ in Turin

The other real aspect that fiction takes advantage of is that when the attendant fails, after the Archduke’s speech, the entourage makes an improvised way to a new destination, and it is on that path, when almost by accident Gavrilo Princip, who was a 19-year-old nationalist He stumbles upon the entourage, gathers up his courage and shoots with his weapon and kills the Archduke and his wife.


Right wing Rhys Ifans as Rasputin, and to the right the real Rasputin around 1914.

Nicknamed The Mad Monk, he was a real character who lived at the Russian court (1869-1916). In the movie it is interpreted by Rhys Ifans, who since childhood was fascinated with the character, in the grotesque and peculiar Rasputin of the film, surprisingly there is much of the real character, in addition to his physical appearance. In fact, his real appearance was very similar to the villain of The King’s Man.

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It is also true, as the film shows, that he had an excessive influence on the royal family, especially on the tsarina – although we do not know if the administration of opiates, like the fictional character, was among the real motives – yes it is real that he saved the son of the tsars, who suffered from hemophilia. the actor who plays him, Ifans, says that his magnetism and charisma were real.

“He’s kind of a renegade rock star, and he’s got a bit of Charlie Manson too, he was the charlatan mystic who mesmerized an entire generation.”


In the movie Rasputin is an excellent dancer, and fighter, something of which we do not have evidence in the real character. But what is surprisingly real is the circumstances of his death. It is true that he died by a conspiracy of nobles, concerned about the powerful influence he wielded in the royal family. Also that on the same night they tried to poison him, and he survived, that he was shot several times, and he survived, and that he finally died drowned in an icy river – a pond in the film. And the latest research, which includes his profile on Wikipedia, suggests that perhaps British secret agents had something to do with his death, just as in The King’s Man: the first mission.

King George of England, Tsar Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm of Austria

The three cousins ​​in reality. On the right, Kaiser Wilhelm II, in the center, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and on the right, King George V of England.

In the movie he is the actor Tom Hollander the one who plays these three historical figures: King George V of England, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and Kaiser Wilhelm. But the choice of the same actor for the three roles is not accidental. In real life, as the movie shows, all three were cousins, and grandchildren, of Queen Victoria of England. In fact, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and King George of England were so similar that in real life they liked to swap uniforms and play jokes pretending to be each other. When in the documentation process director Matthew Vaughn read this, he gave him the key to using the same actor in all three roles.

“They are so similar that there are even historical photos in which Tsar Nicholas II and his cousin King George V of England wear their uniforms changed. And then they recognized that they had done it because they found it funny. And that anecdote I think sums up the madness behind a Europe ruled by these three cousins ​​that led to a deadly World War I “, explains the director in the film’s production notes.

Ton Hollander characterized as his three characters, on the left, as Kaiser Wilhelm II, in the center as Tsar Nicholas II, and on the right, as King George V of England.

Tom Hollander found the challenge fun, as he explains: “It is a very intelligent idea, in fact they were family, cousins, they were alike, and that is one of the reasons why they ended up in the middle of a war, because of their alliances and rivalries, so it makes sense that the same person interpret them. made Kaiser Wilhelm II, which was the most different of the three is almost as if the two little ones were united against their older cousin, in this version of the story ”. The screenwriter, Gajdusek, also found it brilliant: “The film traces back the traces of the conflict to these three characters and their childhood conflicts of jealousy, which somehow represents the absurdity behind the Great War. Those three cousins ​​are represented by the same actor, creating a kind of wonderful schizophrenia, a somewhat melancholic message as well, “he concludes.

Erik Jan Hanussen

On the inzuqierda Daniel Brühl characterized as Erik Hanussen, and on the right the real seer Erik Hanussen

The actor Daniel Brühl plays the famous seer and swindler Erik Jan Hanussen (1889-1933), in his youth. This Machiavellian character, of Jewish origin -although he hid it to gain acceptance among the German Nazis- and who became an adviser and seer of high Nazi positions in the 30s. “He was a conspiratorial type with a desire for power and influence who he became a real star in Germany in the 30s because people really believed that he could see the future, that he was a fortune teller and even filled stadiums in Berlin at the time, “explains the actor.

Although his relationship with power in real life was more evident in the face of the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s, after the Great War, andIn the film, he is one of the villains who pull the strings in the conspiracy that according to fiction took place to generate World War I.


Also the real character of the spy and dancer Sun, who was actually called Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod (1876-1917)), appears in the film, although in her case, since she is located in the US, the resemblance to reality is more remote. Mata Hari (Valerie Pachner) in The King’s Man: the first missionIt is also part of the fictional international plot that according to fiction caused World War I. But what does coincide with the real character in that both used their gifts of seduction and their exotic dance to access the highest spheres of power, which allowed him to know their plans and movements. “She is a fascinating character, because of how she made a living. Dancer, seductress, and occasionally a spy, both for the Germans and for the French,” explains the actress who brings her to life.

Neither the death shown in fiction, in the middle of the action scene, had nothing to do with the reality in which the spy was tried and convicted in France for espionage in 1917. His real death is worthy of the best of fictions. She was shot by a French battalion. They say that he asked not to be blindfolded and wore an Amazon costume for the occasion. And before she was shot, she blew a kiss at the soldiers in her battalion.

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