High on fun
Get ready for the threemusketeers
THE latest adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel The Three Musketeers arrives in 3D format in Malaysian cinemas tomorrow (it opens a week before the United States).
It is retold by director Paul W. Anderson with Logan Lerman ( Percy Jackson And The Olympians) as D’Artagnan, and Matthew Macfadyen ( Pride & Prejudice), Ray Stevenson ( The Book Of Eli) and Luke Evans ( Clash Of The Titans) as the three warweary Musketeers – Athos, Porthos and Aramis.
But this is not your typical adaptationtion – for one, there’s a flying ship. Then there’s Orlando Bloom in the role of the devious Duke of Buckingham and the film actually explores Milady’s darker side (she is played by Milla Jovovich who has a number of action sequences here judging by the trailer). Also in the cast is Christoph Waltz who plays the powerful Cardinal Richelieu.
According to Macfadyen in the film’s production notes, this film is meant for a new genera-generation as it gives the classic tale aa fresh take of the themes featured in the story – love, loyalty and friendship. He said: “I hope it will be as pertinent and relevant as it possibly can be.”
The film revolves around three warriors who have pretty much become bored drunks with no real purpose in life. Then they meet an idealistic and brave young man, D’Artagnan, who they take under their wing.
Meanwhile, within the walls of the palace where one Milady De Winter walks – serving the queen and king – a sinister conspiracy unfolds that ultimately puts the life of the King of France in danger. It is now up to the four of them to ensure the safety of both their King and that of the European continent and the only way for them to do it is by working together.
At the core of the story is also the relationship of the three men and D’Artagnan, aided wonderfully by the perfect casting. Using the description in the book, the film showcases a mysterious Aramis, a larger than life Porthos and a melancholic Athos.
Producer of the film, Jeremy Bolt, said: “There needed to be a good balance with these actors because the Musketeers are all equal – they even have approximately the same number of pages in the novel.
“Matthew Macfadyen as Athos is brilliant – he has this elegance and grace with an underlying brooding violence.
“Porthos is just full of love of life and exuberance, bear hugs, beer and wine, and Ray (Stevenson) just imports this physicality. Luke Evans as Aramis is extremely handsome but with a dark, mysterious quality.”
Evans who is a fan of the book added his take on the relationship between the young D’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers. He said: “We all have our separate relationships with D’Artagnan. My character, Aramis, becomes like an older brother to him. He sees this young whippersnapper who believes he is invincible and can rule the world, and watches him make his mistakes.
“Aramis likes and cares about D’Artagnan in a very brotherly way, even though at times D’Artagnan’s youthful bravado grates on him.
“Athos is the father figure, a lovelorn, heart broken father who sees himself in D’Artagnan. And then we have Porthos, who is a like the bighearted uncle, always ruffling his hair and slapping him on the back a bit too hard.”
The Three Musketeers was filmed on location in various towns and cities in Germany, Bavaria and Babelsberg Film Studios in Berlin. Although set in France, the film couldn’t be shot in France as most of the French countryside has been modernised which means any wide shots is not really possible. Whereas in Bavaria – which still has castles and palaces – that is possible.
For Macfadyen, filming in Bavaria was a total treat. He said: “It was seemingly endless; beautiful location after beautiful location, each more wonderful and amazing than the last. My favourite was a 17th century Schloss in Pommersfelden. We filmed the scene in the Venetian Safe House where Milady double-crosses the three Musketeers.
“The room we were filming in was vast and exquisite with shells and tiny mirrors decorating the walls. The art department placed water baths outside so the water reflected and made a light effect on the ceiling – it was utterly beautiful. I felt very lucky and privileged to be working there.”
Beautiful locations and costumes aside, what is most outstanding is that in this version, it features not one but two actors who are cast against type – as villains. Although that doesn’t mean the actors couldn’t inject a little trait of their own into the characters. Getting a chance to play a rather extraordinary woman who ably navigates her way through a man’s world in the 17th century is a role that’s surely made for Jovovich.
Bolt expanded: “Milady de Winter is absolutely not ordinary – she is a triple agent, undercover operative with multiple pseudonyms, a woman way ahead of her time. Milla felt she could bring something very new and distinct to this character and she has embraced the part. Fans of her previous work will not be disappointed.”
To give you an idea, one of the action sequences sees Milady fighting off 10 guards while wearing huge skirts, petticoats and corsets.
Then there is Bloom in the role of a roguish and cunning villain. Or, erm, as Bloom put it: “He is like a peacock that loves to show himself off. When Paul and I were discussing the role, he was telling me to think about the cool rock-stars of our time: David Bowie, Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger – Buckingham is like a rock star.”
He concludes: “This is not a Musketeer movie the audience is going to expect because it doesn’t take itself seriously. There is so much joy, humour and wit in this piece.” – MumtajBegum n The three musketeers opens nationwide tomorrow.