The Three Musketeers: Milady (French: Les Trois Mousquetaires: Milady) is an upcoming action adventure film directed by Martin Bourboulon based on Alexandre Dumas’s 1844 novel The Three Musketeers. It is the second film of a two-part epic saga and was preceded by The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan. The film stars François Civil, Vincent Cassel, Pio Marmaï, Romain Duris, and Eva Green. It will be released theatrically in France by Pathé on 13 December 2023. The films were co-produced by France, Germany, Spain and Belgium on a combined production budget of €72 million (US$78.2 million), with €36.1 million for Milady, and filmed back to back for 150 days from 16 August 2021 to 3 June 2022.
- François Civil as D’Artagnan
- Vincent Cassel as Athos
- Pio Marmaï as Porthos
- Romain Duris as Aramis
- Eva Green as Milady de Winter
- Lyna Khoudri as Constance Bonacieux
- Louis Garrel as King Louis XIII
- Vicky Krieps as Anne of Austria
- Jacob Fortune-Lloyd as Duke of Buckingham
- Alexis Michalik as Villeneuve de Radis
- Patrick Mille as Henri de Talleyrand-Périgord
- Ivan Franek as Ardanza
- Ralph Amoussou as Hannibal, inspired by Aniaba
The idea for the project started in 2019, when producer Dimitri Rassam spent the year looking for a subject that could spark a real event on the big screen and made a list of works that he wanted to produce, and one of them stood out: the 1844 novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. In December 2019, Rassam had a meeting with director Martin Bourboulon at a restaurant in Paris to talk about his desire to adapt the novel. During the meeting, Bourboulon remembered the 1994 film Revenge of the Musketeers directed by Bertrand Tavernier, which was produced by his father, Frédéric Bourboulon. During the summer of 1993, Bourboulon, aged 14, visited the set of Revenge of the Musketeers with his father and was impressed by the sets of the swashbuckling comedy filmed in the medieval alleys of Sarlat-la-Canéda and in the moat of the castle of Biron. With Bourboulon’s verbal agreement, Rassam then recruited a duo of seasoned screenwriters: Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patellière, and both immediately agreed.
On 13 May 2020, a meeting was held in Paris in the office of Chapter 2, Rassam’s production company. A videoconference with Ardavan Safaee, president of Pathé Films, Rassam, Bourboulon, Delaporte and La Patellière. The two screenwriters presented a 60-page storyboard, summarizing their upcoming storyline for the project. Five hours later, the cutting was approved and the preparation for the film was launched, although the screenplay had not been finished. Contrary to the previous adaptations of the novel, Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patellière wanted to make Dumas’ work “a thriller in a violent world”. Rassam described the project as “a response to American franchises”.
On 29 June 2020, Pathé CEO Jérôme Seydoux announced that a new version of The Three Musketeers would be adapted for the cinema by his company. The screenplay started being written in the summer of 2020. On 14 October 2020, Pathé announced that the film would be split into two parts titled D’Artagnan and Milady, respectively, with Martin Bourboulon set to direct both films on a screenplay written by Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patellière, and that shooting was expected to begin in France in summer 2021 and last seven months. Pathé also announced that both films would be released in 2023.
Produced by Dimitri Rassam for France’s Chapter 2, a Mediawan Company, and Pathé, the two films were co-produced by M6 Films, Germany’s Constantin Film, Spain’s DeAPlaneta, and Belgium’s Umedia. The combined production budget for the two films was €72 million, (US$78,2 million in 2023). €36,08 million for D’Artagnan and €36,16 million for Milady, (US$39.1 million). Which makes it the most expensive French production of 2023. The score was composed by Guillaume Roussel.
This is the first French film adaptation of The Three Musketeers in 62 years, since Bernard Borderie’s two-part saga was released in 1961.
Director Martin Bourboulon said that the inspirations for this new adaptation were The Duellists (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), La Reine Margot (1994), Gladiator (2000), and The Revenant (2015).
On 11 February 2021, Variety announced the cast, which included François Civil as D’Artagnan, Eva Green as Milady de Winter, Vincent Cassel as Athos, Pio Marmaï as Porthos, Romain Duris as Aramis, Lyna Khoudri as Constance Bonacieux, Louis Garrel as King Louis XIII, Vicky Krieps as Anne of Austria, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen as the Duke of Buckingham. The saga was pre-bought by M6, OCS and Canal Plus in February 2021. Pathé will release the films theatrically in France and handle the international sales.
On 23 November 2021, Pathé revealed the release dates for both films; 5 April 2023 for D’Artagnan, and 13 December 2023 for Milady, and also revealed the full cast; Ralph Amoussou as Hannibal, Éric Ruf as Cardinal Richelieu, Marc Barbé as Captain de Tréville, Patrick Mille as The Count of Chalais, and Jacob Fortune-Lloyd as the Duke of Buckingham, replacing Oliver Jackson-Cohen.
For the musketeers, director Martin Bourboulon and producer Dimitri Rassam had an ideal list and the four actors they had thought of said “yes”. They approached the actors even before having the final versions of the scripts and started by casting D’Artagnan, and François Civil was their first choice and the first actor who was cast for the project. It was Civil’s childhood dream to play D’Artagnan. When he learned that Rassam wanted to meet with him to talk about the project at the beginning of 2020, he decided to give his all, so he trimmed his mustache put his hair in a little ponytail, impersonated D’Artagnan during the meeting and lied to Rassam by telling him that The Three Musketeers was his bedside book and that he knew it by heart, even though he had bought it only two days before in audiobook format listened to it at 3x speed to try to speed up the story a little so that he could be ready for his meeting with Rassam. Civil said the meeting was a bit like D’Artagnan against Tréville, the captain of the musketeers, when he arrived saying he was ready to be a musketeer, as he did the same thing with Rassam and it worked. Later on, around six to eight months from the time he was cast to the time he received the script, Civil finally read the book during the first lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vincent Cassel also had a previous connection with The Three Musketeers. His father, Jean-Pierre Cassel, played King Louis XIII in The Three Musketeers (1973) by Richard Lester, and Cassel accompanied his father on set and was very moved by it. Jean-Pierre Cassel had also played D’Artagnan in Cyrano and d’Artagnan (1964) by Abel Gance.
Bourboulon and Rassam were looking for modernity and wanted strong female characters. For the role of Milady, they wanted to have a “mysterious actress” and Eva Green was cast; “everyone knows her but we don’t see her every month at the cinema,” Bourboulon said. Cassel recommended Green to Rassam before they started filming the Apple TV+ series Liaison and even before they had met each other in person, and shortly after that, she received the scripts and accepted the role. Green’s fear of horses almost prevented her from taking on the role, but Italian horse trainer and stuntman Mario Luraschi gave her confidence and she managed to ride a horse.
This new adaptation of The Three Musketeers will introduce a new character, Hannibal (portrayed by Ralph Amoussou), based on the true story of Louis Anniaba, the prince of Assinie and France’s first Black musketeer.
Porthos (portrayed by Pio Marmaï) is bisexual in this version. Marmaï also had to gain 10 kilos for the role.
The four actors who played the musketeers met for the first time almost like in the novel: crossing swords at a fencing lesson. Olympic Épée champion Yannick Borel trained the actors. Civil performed 90% of his own stunts, after six months of intense physical preparation on fencing, sword-fighting and horse-riding. Yannick Borel taught him postures and movements for five months, three hours a week. He then learned horse-riding with Marco Luraschi (who was also his understudy) at the ranch of the Luraschi family in Fontaine-Chaalis, and combat choreography with stuntmen Dominique and Sébastien Fouassier in a dojo in Paris. Civil was left temporarily blind in one eye for 36 hours due to an incorrectly applied make-up product on set. He also broke his foot following a fall at home coming down from a stepladder and had to shoot the final scenes with a broken foot and protected by a huge foam shoe, which do not appear on screen.
François Civil found that D’Artagnan was a little too insistent in his flirting with Constance Bonacieux, and even if it is written that way in Dumas’ novel, he thought it would be interesting to modernize this seduction by injecting a little more respect into it, so he managed to have the scenes between the two of them rewritten. “The man does not occupy the same place today as in the 17th century, and that is why I was attentive to the writing of my scenes with Lyna Khoudri”, Civil told Madame Figaro. He also added that D’Artagnan keeps his panache and his somewhat clumsy side, but he is never “heavy” and “always remains charming” in the version of the screenplay written by Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte. In turn, Constance is not portrayed as a passive woman and her relationship with D’Artagnan is “filled with respect and consent,” Civil said.
Director Martin Bourboulon had initially forbidden the famous feathered hat of the musketeers, fearing that this accessory would make his costumes “old-fashioned”, as he was looking for “dirt, authenticity, far from the Epinal image of the hat and its twirling feather,” he said. He was convinced by the film’s costume designer, Thierry Delettre, to change his mind and ended up adopting the hat. No digital effects were used in the film, except to erase a few contemporary elements such as bus shelters or parking meters appearing in the background.
The two films were shot back to back for 150 days on location in France, in landmarks such as the Louvre Palace, the Hôtel des Invalides, the Castles of Fontainebleau and Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Fort-la-Latte and Chantilly, as well as the citadel of Saint-Malo and the historic city center of Troyes. Filming began on 16 August 2021, and wrapped on 3 June 2022 at the Farcheville castle. 2000 costumes, 930 technicians, 650 horses and 9,000 extras were used in the production.
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