At first I was totally dismayed and worried when I heard there’d been slated a new movie adaptation of The Three Musketeers because Dumas’ adventure books were such good friends to me for so many years (this clearly merits a re-read actually; it’s been too long). But then I saw that Paul W.S. Anderson was at the helm and my sphincter relaxed.
Then I saw Milla Jovovich was in it — not because Anderson is her husband but because she is amazing and anyone who says otherwise can shut their piehole or I’ll shut it for them — and I did backflips. I’m going to dwell on this a lot until its release. For today, a quick look at the cast:
Logan Lerman (D’Artagnan) was most recently in the movie Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Two-bit Monkeyshines and the Missing Noxzema Pad as the titular Percy Jackson; the most surprising credit on his absolutely stacked resume is The Butterfly Effect. No one gives that movie enough credit. Pretend Hashton Euchre is someone else (as I have just done) and that movie is strikingly awesome. Anyway, I think this kid looks too young to play the dashing Gascon protagonist and I fear he was chosen to appeal to the tween demographic, which has even more worrisome ramifications because a faithful adaptation of the first book can only result in a PG-13 rating at best unless some Disney-style plot-monkeying has been done, but I look forward with cautious optimism to being proven wrong on all counts. Paul W.S. Anderson wouldn’t do me like that. We go back to Event Horizon, man: it’s us to the mortuary.
If I had been the casting director, D’Artagnan would be played by: Paul Dano or Emile Hirsch. Guys who’ve proven their chops in challenging, dramatic, serious roles (Little Miss Sunshine and Speed Racer, respectively) — just kidding, obviously in Hirsch’s case I am referring to the film adaptation of Into the Wild — and can handle the emotional demands of the part. Again, I would hope with all my heart that Logan Lerman proves me wrong. Good luck, kiddo: I really am pulling for you.
James Corden will play D’Artagnan’s servant, Planchet. That he is billed up in the top 10 is weird to me, so they must have beefed up his part. The casting directors have gone the portly-servant-to-the-handsome-gentleman route with their choice, a trope so cliched as to almost be commedia dell’arte in its typecasting, but not quite that creative; just predictable. However, that is not the kid’s fault and I give James Corden props for having appeared on an episode of Dr. Who. I look forward to seeing what he brings to his perhaps-more-significant-than-normal portrayal of Planchet. (edit: Supafly Gordon Fraser has the skinny on the bigness of Mr. Corden; read all about his popularity in the UK in the comments — mystery solved to a satisfying and encouraging conclusion!)
I would have liked to have seen: a real skinny, fair, left-field, oddball hottie like Jesse Tyler Ferguson or Mike White.
Ray Stevenson is Porthos. He’s been working like a madman lately and clearly has the skillz to pay the billz, Big Budget Picture-wise: Cirque Du Freak, The Book of Eli, The Other Guys, and the forthcoming Thor are all recent credits — dude knows his way around an action flick, for sure. All in all, I approve. He is an Irish boy, so my hands are tied. It is a foregone conclusion that I will adore him. Porthos is the party guy of the Musketeers, so it’s also nice to see that Mr. Stevenson will get to play against type and not have to be strictly the big toughie, but get to enjoy a little wine, women, and song along with his usual dealing-out of ass-kickings.
My ideal casting: Donal Logue. Duh.
Matthew Macfayden has been cast as Athos. Most recently Mr. Macfayden played the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, though his awesomest resume credit is from Grindhouse as “hatchet victim” in the Don’t segment. I wish I could put “hatchet victim” on my resume. Well, on reflection, I suppose not. “Hatchet survivor” is so much more optimistic. Macfayden’s most impressive credit is for the television special Nuremberg: Nazis on Trail, on which he served as the narrator for the episodes on Goering, Hess, and Speer. I admire that.
Athos is supposed to be the oldest of the group and kind of reserved, which works with Mr. Macfayden’s intelligent-but-pinchy face, like he worries a lot about things, but I’m concerned about him being too young and handsome to realistically portray Athos as older than this cast’s Porthos (above). Also, there’s the him-and-Milady thing. Milla is such a badass and so unthinkably beautiful and vital compared to his own type of fitness and vibe, that kind of sinewy, reedy runner build, so if they do any sexytimes flashback I’m concerned it will seem imbalanced. I’m afraid I have to glance askance at this casting and again just hope to be blown away when I see the movie.
I would have chosen: Clive Owen.
Luke Evans is set to portray Aramis, my favorite of the Musketeers. He is very multi-faceted as a character which makes him a satisfying companion to follow when you’re reading the adventures. Aramis is both bookish and restless; a dreamer who also plans; much more religious than the others but also given to double-dealing; patient in allowing his machinations to take shape but simultaneously governed by impulse and wild ambition, which he backs up with intricate, Machiavellian plots that generally succeed. He is somewhat the visionary of the group.
As far as face goes, Mr. Evans looks sensitive but smart enough to accurately portray Aramis, although I’d have preferred to see Cillian Murphy, who could have handled the breezy humor and abrupt mood shifts of Aramis’s temperament, and whose resume could use a famous-good-guy credit after turning in such impressively villainous performances in RedEye and the Nolan Batman films.
Then again, I prefer to see Cillian Murphy in just about anything. Mr. Evans is probably in due to being the sheriff’s henchman in Robin Hood and Apollo in Clash of the Titans, so he will be back in action with Mr. Macfayden. (Did the casting directors go directly to the sets for all these recruitments or is some incestuous, neopotic agency simply teeming with busy bees.)
In a perfect world: Cillian Murphy, as I have made abundantly clear.
Christoph Waltz has got the nod to play Cardinal Richelieu. You know him — Inglorious Basterds, a one mister Herr Landa? Guy spent the last twenty years working his ass off mainly on German TV and has totally earned his day in the sun. Good on him and I think he will bring an appropriately balanced Richelieu to the screen for maybe the first time ever: usually he is portrayed as a straightforward villain. Cardinal Richelieu is a more complex character than that — not as uniquely complex as Rochefort, who in the books eventually becomes friends with the Musketeers many years later, but still less one-dimensional than film adaptations traditionally demonstrate — and I hope for good things from Mr. Waltz.
I would have gone with: meh. I am happy with Christoph Waltz in this role. Richelieu is not the main or most intriguing villain of the piece and I like a capable, team player like Waltz in the part because I would hate to see him pull a Tim Curry-style upstaging of the next character on my list — Milady de Winter.
Milla Jovovich plays Milady. Yes.
That’s all I have to say about the casting choice. Yes. Yes. I love her almost beyond expression, like admire her and genuinely wish good things for her despite having never met her but not in a crazy way, and I have seen all of her movies so many times over, particularly The Messenger: Joan of Arc — and now she is portraying one of my favorite characters from literature, my darling Milady de Winter? YES. Yes. I want to see this movie YESTERDAY.
I would have picked: OBVIOUSLY MILLA. She should just play all the parts and then go on tour with her live, one-man Three Musketeers and I will go to every show.
They’ve cast Mads Mikkelsen as the V.I.P. villain-cum-henchman Rochefort, seen most recently in Clash of the Titans (Draco) and Casino Royale (Le Cheffre). If this storyline is starting from the popular and most usual point for dramatic adaptations, when D’Artagnan first meets and joins forces with the Musketeers, then Rochefort is supposed to be memorably creepy and a figure of mystery for much of this film. His most overriding characteristic, besides his swordsmanship, is that as a character he is very, very recognizable. Mikkelsen looks great, but I’m not sure he will be creepy enough to believably carry such a stamp, if that makes sense? The very figure of Rochefort is supposed to inspire pervasive dread.
My choice: Crispin Glover, who must surely soon begin to enjoy a renaissance of mainstream key-playing work due to his successful reviews in Alice in Wonderland. He plays a good villain and some time under a sun lamp to gain a proper Gallic bronze would do him good anyway. Plus I think he is hot and I’ve always been a big fan.
Twinkle-Toes P. Banananose, the 4th, has been cast as the Duke of Buckingham. Anyone know anything about this guy? I couldn’t find anything at all on him. Seems he has no career whatsoever and is an utter nobody. What a shame. Moving on.
Alternate casting choice: ANYONE ELSE.
Lovely young Juno Temple (she knows what she has to do to get billed “and talented”) will play Queen Anne of Austria. She was most recently in Dirty Girl, a forthcoming bildungsroman epic of sorts with Milla in it, so I’ll know more about her as soon as it comes out, since, as I mentioned, I have sworn a blood oath of lifelong devotion to Milla Jovovich and would sooner pluck out my eyeballs and eat them than miss one of her movies — but, like I said, it’s not in a crazy way. Or anything. Ms. Temple seems a very young choice for a film that also has the Duke of Buckingham in the cast, because their affair is such a major plot point in the story of D’Artagnan and the Musketeers first collaborating to save the Queen’s honor and defeat Richelieu.
Those who know only the Disney version will not be familiar with this twist — I know, how shocking that Disney whitewashed and played fast and loose with an adaptation of a literary classic; I am as surprised and chagrined as you are. What a terrible and uncharacteristic shock this is. Anyway, if the entanglement between Buckingham and Queen Anne starts now … and Twinkle-Toes P. Banananose, the 4th, is scripted to be pawing this poor kid on the screen … I’m going to be pretty skeeved out. I mean, I know she’s 21 and all, but … ew. He’s just so very ew. Showers are free — just go out in the rain, buddy.
My pick: Anne Hathaway. No brainer.
Final picture of Anne Hathaway for, you know … Science.
All in all, I can’t wait for a picture so close to my heart and directed by someone I trust to come out and I’m sorry but you must expect to hear plenty more about it.