On a sun-beaten afternoon atop the gleaming pool deck of the Trump Soho hotel in lower Manhattan, actors Logan Lerman and Ray Stevenson are reuniting for the first time since last November, when they wrapped The Three Musketeers, the 3-D rebirth of Alexandre Dumas’ standard-setting swashbuckler. Stevenson, a hulking, 47-year-old Irishman, clenches Lerman in a bear hug so tight it looks likely to cut off the slender 19-year-old actor’s air supply. Were Lerman’s smile not so bright, we’d be worried.
Over iced teas and lychee-tinis, the costars enthusiastically endorse their version of the classic tale of derring-do, which was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson of Resident Evil franchise fame. While the balletic swordplay and acrobatic hijinks for which the book has become known still stand in the remake, it’s been updated for the video game set with elements of steampunk futurism. (Think sci-fi weaponry, battling Victorian airships, and lots of slow-motion action sequences.) Lerman (3:10 to Yuma, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) plays the young D’Artagnan, an adventure seeking peasant who arrives in Paris only to meet the titular trio (Luke Evans’ Aramis, Matthew Macfadyen’s Athos, and Stevenson’s brash and hedonistic Porthos). Together they set off on a quest to save the kingdom of France from Cardinal Richelieu, embodied deliciously by villain-for-hire Christoph Waltz.
Lerman, who aspires to be the head of a studio one day, swears that Musketeers—which also features Anderson’s wife, Milla Jovovich, and Orlando Bloom as villains—is a can’t-miss popcorn flick. “Bottom line: If you tell me you’re not entertained when you see this film, I’ll tell you you’re lying,” he says. Believe us when we say that no one wants to be caught by Stevenson (The Punisher: War Zone, Thor, TV’s Rome) in a lie.
Hollywood studios have been getting a lot of flack for remaking old stories instead of putting together original material. Is The Three Musketeers a story that deserves retelling? LOGAN LERMAN: I don’t think we’re rehashing the same thing. RAY STEVENSON: Plus, each generation needs its own musketeers. Nobody sets out to remake Dumas’ book word for word.
It’s a story about a boy leaving home for the first time. Ray, how old were you when you first left home? RS: I was 16 and studying in Newcastle. Then I went and did some traveling, came back, and moved to London, so I think about 19 or 20 was when I finally flew the coop. LL: I still live at home, but I spend a lot of time traveling.
Logan, doesn’t your family have a connection to Germany, where you shot this film? LL: My grandfather had to leave his home in Berlin as a child during World War II. He and his family traveled through India, and he grew up in China. He only took two books with him when he left, and one of them was The Three Musketeers. That was what made me decide to do this movie. Every week, I go to my grandfather’s house for breakfast, and he’s so excited about my being a musketeer.
Paul Anderson’s movies do well commercially, but critics seem to have fun tearing them up. Is that something you’re at all worried about? RS: Are critics our target demographic? No, they certainly aren’t. We make movies for the audience. It’s like Shakespeare said: “The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.” The king, in this case, is 14 years old. The Three Musketeers is never going to be Chekhov. If critics can’t step outside of their boxes and judge the film for what it is, then that’s their problem. What can you really say against it, “the buttons on the tunic weren’t properly aligned.” Bollocks!
Logan, as an aspiring filmmaker, what did you learn from working with Anderson? LL: I was lucky enough to learn about these 3-D systems hands-on, and that was my main focus. Comprehending how it works wasn’t actually as complicated as I expected it to be. RS: Logan was like a shadow on set. I’d turn around, and he’d be there, even on his days off.
Tickets to 3-D films are more expensive than tickets to regular films. Do you think people are getting ripped off? RS: When LED watches first came out, didn’t you want one? How much were they? How much are they now? The more popular 3-D films become, the less expensive they’ll eventually be to watch. LL: I don’t have a problem with 3-D, but I do have a problem with the overuse of CGI. It just looks cheesy to me. The locations aren’t digitally recreated in our film. We actually shot at these locations.
What was most difficult about playing d’Artagnan? LL: Well, I’m not the most physical person I know. RS: Oh, come on! You’re selling yourself short. He was flying and swinging around on wires and ropes. LL: I impressed myself, that’s for sure. I was blown away. RS: Literally, by huge explosions.
You wore hair extensions, too, so there were a lot of firsts. LL: That was definitely a bitch. I tried growing my hair long, but I get a big ’fro. It turned into a mushroom. RS: Like Art Garfunkel.
What was it like having Orlando Bloom, who typically plays a hero, as the villain this time around? RS: We only saw him for a few days. We didn’t have much to do with him. LL: I had, like, one scene with him, maybe. But, you know, nice guy.
What about Christoph Waltz? LL: We were around each other a lot, but I couldn’t talk to him. I don’t know if he’s a method actor, or if he’s just really quiet. Did you get to talk to him? RS: Yeah, of course. He’s an old theater hound. LL: I think he was trying to intimidate me.
Logan, did you enjoy playing the romantic lead? LL: Romance can be awkward, but I didn’t dislike it. RS: Look at the classic example, Gigli. It should have worked, all the elements and chemistry were supposed to be there, but no—the camera doesn’t lie, mate.
Is that what ruined Gigli, the lack of chemistry between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez? RS: It was just a bad film. LL: I didn’t like it, but I’ve seen worse. It’s a glorified flop. RS: It became a punchline.
Ray, you live in Ibiza. Why? RS: Because it’s like a gypsy Island. Ibiza is like a port where you sail in on your boat, scrape the barnacles off, and take off again.
Isn’t it also where Euro-trash crowds go to listen to bad music and get wasted? RS: Most people who share that view of the island have never been. It’s got the biggest clubs in the world, sure, but you don’t have to be a part of that scene. LL: It does? I’m visiting, and I’m staying at your place!
More likely, you’d check in at a five-star resort. LL: It’s funny that there’s such an image that goes along with publicity. I’m only 19—I still have chores to do at home—but then I get shipped off to do press, and I’m put up in a nice suite, in a beautiful hotel, and doing all this shit for that image of celebrity, to sell the film.
It must feel strange that so much money is being spent on you. RS: There’s no other business on the planet where you would put $120 million into something without a 10- or 20-year business plan. LL: You can easily get stressed out and question why you deserve it, or you can embrace it, and I’ve chosen the latter.
Photography by Alexander Wagner. Styling by Christopher Campbell.