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When it was announced that filmmaker Paul W.S. Anderson would be directing a 3D telling of The Three Musketeers, anyone familiar with his work knew immediately the result wouldn’t be a straightforward translation. That fact was confirmed in the recently released trailer, which has a bit of a steampunk vibe.
Logan Lerman, who plays d’Artagnan in the October release, told Spinoff Online at WonderCon that Anderson’s heroic foursome is a bit more high-tech than fans of the novel may remember. “Everybody’s asking, ‘What’s different about this Musketeers film that’s different than all of the other Musketeers films that have been made?’ It’s a more contemporary version, it’s the untold chapter where the Musketeers are weaponry experts.”
“They’re kind of looked at as being the James Bonds of their times, with gadgets and gizmos and fun things, instead of just sword fighting,” he continued. “It makes for a lot of fun, and a whole different … twist to the other Musketeers films.”
Lerman, best known for his starring role in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, clammed up when it came to discussing exactly what the movie’s gadgets are, but not for the reason you might think. “There’s … a lot of cool stuff [that] I can’t even give a name,” he said. “A lot of stuff you haven’t seen before. It’s going to blow people away.”
He added, “Even in the trailer you can see [Matthew Macfadyen] using this old-school flamethrower. It’s cool. There was a lot of jealousy there, but I got to do a lot of cool stuff as well.”
Lerman said that with d’Artagnan specifically, Anderson sought out an actor close to the character’s age in the book, 18. This younger d’Artagnan is also a more “badass” take on the character, as the now 19-year-old actor described it.
“It’s nothing that anybody’s going to expect when [they are] thinking about the long line of d’Artagnans,” he said. “[He] actually is the most dangerous character in the film because nobody knows who he is when he comes to the city from a small town, and he’s trying to prove himself to become a Musketeer.”
Lerman reassured us that his d’Artagnan is dangerous not just for being unknown, but also because of his skill with the blade. “I think I had the most fight scenes in the film, so I wanted to make sure that d’Artagnan looks like a badass with a sword.”
“Fencing, it’s such a detailed sport. I wanted to make sure it looked right and we can please fencers all around the world as well. I trained for, maybe like eight, nine months,” he said. “We were all training throughout filming, but before we started we [the four stars] trained for about two months together. And before that I was training for two and a half, three months.”
Lerman took his character’s combat abilities very seriously, if for no other reason than to say true to the book. “D’Artagnan’s supposed to be the best swordsman of the group, the most wild and insane swordsman,” he explained. “I tried to make a specific style for him that was different from everybody else. All of the Musketeers developed specific styles so you can really differentiate between the characters, so it’s not just standard sword-fighting all the time.”
While Lerman had to actually swing a blade, Anderson had to apply his magic as a filmmaker to make it all look right, both in 2D and in 3D. “It made everyone comfortable knowing the he is one of the masters of 3D filmmaking out there,” Lerman said.
“After watching the last Resident Evil, it [reassured us] that he knows exactly what he’s doing and he’s going to make us look good. We’re just going to pull our weight and make our characters something the audience can really invest in.”
The locations also play a huge role in upping the movie’s awesome factor, according to the young actor. Anderson does a lot of green-screen work in his Resident Evil films, but the Musketeers story unfolds in locations that are better served by shooting in real places than on fabricated sets, digital or otherwise.
“What really gives [this film] a good visual taste is that we shot in in all these real locations throughout Germany, these old castle sets and everything,” Lerman said. “It’s all real. A lot of the time, we really didn’t have to recreate anything in CG. It gives it an insane budget if you were to create that on a set or something. Thank you to the German government for letting us shoot in these amazing locations. It adds so much to the film.”
Ultimately, Lerman is simply honored to be playing a role that he refers to as “one of the most iconic characters in literature.” There’s a personal tie to the story, and to the character as well, an added element of doing something to please his family that makes this particular gig special.
“When my grandfather was a child … he was traveling to China and he grew up [there]. He didn’t have much … but one of the only books he took was The Three Musketeers,” Lerman said. “Now thinking about that and being able to do something that really means something for my family and my grandfather, able to portray one of his favorite characters, is an honor just for that reason.”