Just a week after the 2010 Festival de Cannes started, a clear heavy-weight has emerged between the two new versions of The Three Musketeers in pre-production. The winner is Summit Entertainment and director Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Death Race), whose version with the following stars attached will also be filmed in 3D:
- Logan Lerman (D’artagnan, the young newbie): The star of Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Lerman was also one of the leads in ill-fated WB series “Jack & Bobby.”
- Matthew Macfadyen (Athos, the moody leader): The Robin Hood star had to correct the initial reports that he was going to be playing Aramis.
- Luke Evans (Aramis, the man of God): After playing the role of the god Apollo in The Clash of the Titans, he’ll be returning to Greek mythology land for Immortals.
- Ray Stevenson (Porthos, the jovial gourmand): Having appeared in The Book of Eli, his next summer movie appearance will be in the comedy The Other Guys.
On the antagonist’s side, we’ll have Christoph Waltz (Cardinal Richelieu, the main schemer), Mads Mikkelsen (Rochefort, D’Artagnan’s main rival at arms), Milla Jovovich (Milady de Winter, the Cardinal’s spy), and a rumored Orlando Bloom (the Duke of Buckingham, who actually comes off as much more sympathetic in the original French novel than an Englishman should be). Also in negotiations to join the cast is Juno Temple, (Greenberg, Dirty Girl who will play the queen of France.
Having been hailed as “the jewel in the Cannes crown this year” with “all the elements we needed” by Summit International’s president David Garrett, The Hollywood Reporter noted that Garrett and his team were able to broker deals to have the $80 million picture shown in the U.K., Canada, Spain, and Latin America. Summit will distribute in the U.S., and co-producer Constantin will distribute for Germany.
The loser is Warner Bros. who by confirming Fair Game director Doug Liman’s involvement in their own version in the beginning of the month started this arms race, but no cast has yet to be announced. Perhaps the only things that the WB version has going for it right now is that it aims to be a Sherlock Holmes-esque re-imagining of the tale and that it’s got Doug Freaking Liman as its director.
And yes, I’ll admit that one of the first versions of this story that I saw on screen was the 1993 Disney version which featured a smirking Charlie Sheen as Aramis, but I think I’ll veer away from the rest of the movie blogosphere community by also stating that my personal favorite version of the Musketeers is actually the 1998 ones played by Gabriel Byrne, John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons, and Gerard Depardieu because of their gravitas.
Filming on both of these productions will begin in the fall.
Updated on 5/23: Orlando Bloom’s involvement has been officially confirmed, according to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Heat Vision blog. Most interesting quote from the article about the Duke of Buckingham: “[He is] so cool that you can chop him into cubes and serve with vodka.” Also confirmed is the involvement is British actor James Cordon (The History Boys), who will play D’Artangnan’s faithful servant Planchet.