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The Three Musketeers - Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson interview

The Three Musketeers

Interview by Rob Carnevale

MATTHEW Macfadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson talk about some of the joys and challenges of making The Three Musketeers in 3D for Paul WS Anderson, including wearing the costumes and boots, swashbuckling and generating a sense of camaraderie.

Q. When did you first become aware of The Three Musketeers?
Ray Stevenson: I was just trying to think… I’m not really sure when the first time I came across the story was. It’s just so embedded in some dark part of my history… whether it’s this film or that film or part of each. I think I started reading the book but like most books I didn’t finish it because there wasn’t enough pictures in it [laughs]. But I was just constantly aware of the story growing up. You catch bits, you see one on the box at Christmas but it could have been an older one, or a newer one, and it’s just there. It’s always been part of culture.

Luke Evans: Well, I have to be honest… it was Dogtanian and The Muskerhounds when I was a child! I still remember the theme tune [barks it, mimes it]. The things that stick in your mind… it’s crazy! We didn’t reference that for this, of course… Dogtanian wasn’t available, he’s an old hound! But that was my first introduction but then, as I grew up, I was introduced to the true novel and then obviously we’ve seen quite a few films over the many years.

Matthew Macfadyen: From films mostly. Probably the first one I saw was not the ’73 version but the ’95 Disney version with Kiefer Sutherland. I was told today there was a Barbie Musketeers as well!

Q. How easy was it to perform the stunts in those costumes?
Matthew Macfadyen: It was mainly the boots on the cobbles!

Luke Evans: They didn’t tell us about the cobbles!

Q. But did shooting the fight scenes in 3D change how you approached them?
Ray Stevenson: It does in a sense because with 3D the camera can almost see around you, so you can’t sort of traditionally lay off for safety and adjust for that. So, everything has to be on point and everything has to be on target, so the discipline of our training – and we had a phenomenal trainer – had to be of such a high standard. But with that intensity and that focus, when we actually came to film it we were actually a lot more freer and we could be who we were trying to be and not worry about the fights so much because all the groundwork had been done. But it does add a heightened discipline to the sword-work.

Q. Did James Corden stay on script?
Luke Evans: He had quite free reign. He’s funny when he makes it up sometimes. But I was a lost cause whenever he was on-set. I found it hard to keep a straight face. He literally cracks me up and did for that whole house scene when he kept coming down the stairs.

Ray Stevenson: We just kept giving him more things to carry…

Luke Evans: He thought they were going to be made with a really light wood but they were actually antique cases strapped with leather on his back. And because there were three of us he had to carry three sets of everything, which he did not like!

Q. How much time did you get to bond beforehand? I mean, chemistry is very important on a film like this…
Luke Evans: Well, there’s a lot of down-time on a movie like this, of this size.

Matthew Macfadyen: The Bavarian beer helped!

Luke Evans: But we spent a lot of time hanging out, didn’t we? Especially when you’re on location and there were no trailers to go back to, so we had little rooms and sat and chatted and played with our iPads.

Q. Did any of your inherit any of your character’s traits?
Matthew Macfadyen: What? Drunk and grumpy? [Laughs]

Q. Did you find yourselves trying to outdo each other during the training you mentioned?
Ray Stevenson: Actually, we found ourselves staying on-set. When we did the big yard fight we’d stay around to watch the other actors. We were actually cheering each other on. It really was great. We were so on top of the fight itself by the time we came to shoot it, we could actually be there and enjoy it. You found yourself cheering the other one on and relishing the fact we were actually in the Musketeers and had started filming. We were very proud. This film has been one of the most joyous films I’ve been on. I think it comes from the top, with Paul WS Anderson [director] and Jeremy Bolt [producer]… that enthusiasm is so infectious and lit up everybody – not only the cast but the crew as well. I think everyone felt some sense of ownership and pride in this movie and just enjoyed it. There was a lot of work and any movie will beat you up, but this one paid dividends every single day.

Luke Evans: There was so much to learn that we were put through a very intense boot camp for four weeks…

Read our review of The Three Musketeers

Read our interview with Paul WS Anderson