MediaOne, the second act of director Pathé and Dimitri Rassam, has unveiled the first shots of their sprawling, $75 million European two-part film based on Alexandre Dumas’ masterpiece “The Three Musketeers – D’Artagnan” and “The Three Musketeers – AD”.
Companies will be running a 15-minute promo at Cannes. Directed by Martin Bourbollon (“Eiffel”), the two Musketeers currently complete principal photography after more than 140 days of filming at prestigious French landmarks, including the Louvre Palace, the Hôtel des Invalides, the castles of Fontainebleau, and Saint-Germain-en- Laye, Fort la Latte and Chantilly as well as Saint-Malo Castle and the historic center of Troyes.
Filmed by Alexandre de la Bateliere and Mathieu Delaporte (“What’s the Name?”), the films are led by a host of international stars, including François Seville (“The Stronghold”), Vincent Cassel (“Black Swan”), Eva Green (“Casino Royal”), Romain Duris (“Eiffel”), Vicky Krieps (“Phantom Thread”), Pio Marmai (“Rise”), Louis Garrel (“DNA”), Lyna Khoudri (“Papicha”) and Jacob Fortune Lloyd (“Queen’s Gambit”). The main cast includes Nicholas Bolduc, Canadian cinematographer for “Enemy” and “La Belle Epoque” and Guillaume Roussel, a music composer who previously worked on “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and Netflix’s “The Spy.”
“It was an extraordinary production experience in all respects as we aimed to elevate ourselves to Douma’s incredible sense of adventure,” said Rassam. Rassam, one of France’s most ambitious producers, said the idea from the start was to adapt this literary masterpiece in the French language and film it entirely on location in France. “With Jerome Seydoux and Ardavan Safaee at Pathé, we were motivated to be true to our approach and to give these productions a truly European foundation to continue the tradition of epic French classics like ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ that have their originality and universal appeal,” said Painter, who admitted he is a fan of history, “Going beyond the issue of language.” As with Dumas’ book, the films also highlighted the “rich history of France during the seventeenth century that is still relevant to our times,” he said.
“Shooting these films with natural decors, on location, was great because it gives them some realism that was enhanced by the music scene that he wanted to be immersive rather than observatory,” Bourbollon said.
The director added, “The camera moves with the characters, including during action scenes, and I use over-the-shoulder shots and chain shots to get as close as possible to the knights.” He noted that this modern mise-en scene was a way to replay the image of Alexandre Dumas’ classics. The promo shows one of the film’s most impressive scenes – a long shot after d’Artagnan as he arrives at the court of the French king. Bourbollon said the films were also more character-driven than a typical period film. He said that the big budget allowed him and his crew access to all the resources needed to create entertainment that matches their creative vision.”
Safai, President of Pathé Films, noted that the 125-year-old company first produced The Three Musketeers a hundred years ago in 1922. “Producing historical murals and epic films has always been in Pathé’s DNA and will continue to be an important part of our business going forward. Where independent distributors need these kinds of action films to appeal to audiences in theaters,” added Safaye, who cited Jean-Jacques Anod’s “L’Ours” and “Queen Margaux” Patrice Cherou as examples of Pathé’s previous similar-sized “Three Musketeers.” The senior executive said Pathé and Chapter 2 are also signing a publishing deal with Gallimard and will work alongside distributors in each market to stage an upward marketing campaign for the films.
Rassam said he wanted the Knights to bring together the best actors, creators, and crews to create a real spectacle and global event for future generations to enjoy, similar to the Indiana Jones movies or some Ridley Scott movies. “I grew up with ‘The Three Musketeers’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ and have always loved how flashy these films, weaving adventure, action and humor, were a form of skill,” said Rassam.
The volume of production is well above French standards, especially in the era of COVID-19. “Duma’s masterpiece is 800 pages, so we couldn’t make just one movie, just like the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie being made into a trilogy,” said Rassam, adding that 650 horses and an additional 9,000 pieces were used for production. Characters have also been updated to appeal to today’s audience, for example the female characters of Milady (Green) and Anne d’Autriche (Krieps).
These two installments of the Knights franchise have already been selected by major European distributors, including Germany’s Constantin, Spain’s DeAPlaneta, and Italy’s Notorious.
“Three Musketeers – D’Artagnan” will be released in France and Switzerland on April 5, 2023, while “Three Musketeers – Milady” will be released 8 months later on December 13, 2023.