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Eva Green: New 'Three Musketeers' adds Milady backstory to Dumas

Eva Green said "The Three Musketeers - Part II: Milady" reveals new backstory about her character. Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films
1 of 5 | Eva Green said "The Three Musketeers - Part II: Milady" reveals new backstory about her character. Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films

LOS ANGELES, April 18 (UPI) -- Eva Green said the latest movie adaptation of The Three Musketeers gives Milady more motivation than author Alexandre Dumas included. Green reprises her role of Milady in The Three Musketeers-Part II: Milady, in theaters Friday.

"Milady had a backstory we'd never seen before," Green told UPI in a recent phone interview. "We understand why Milady became such a ruthless woman because she's very wounded inside."

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In the book and film adaptations, Milady is an agent of Cardinal Richelieu. The musketeers foil her and Richeliu's plot to blackmail Queen Anne.

Green said she read the book when she was 9 or 10, and remembers Milady's pure evil as part of her original appeal.

"There's something very psychotic about her in Dumas," Green said. "She's completely unpredictable. She breaks things. She screams."

In Mathieu Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patelliére two-part adaptation, Milady turned to evil after a personal betrayal by another character. Though still a fan of the classical interpretations of Milady, Green found the new take, directed by Martin Bourboulon, appealing.

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"You see the true face of the character, sometimes," Green said. "She had to build this armor to survive, and she's completely driven by vengeance."

When approached for the role, Green said, the filmmakers sent her scripts for both films. The first film, The Three Musketeers-Part I: D'Artagnan, opened in December in the United States, and introduced Milady as a foil to the musketeers.

It was Part II, Green said, that sold her on playing Milady, adding that two scenes from the sequel convinced her to play the role.

In the film, Milady confronts her musketeer husband, Athos (Vincent Cassel), who'd presumed her dead. Later, captured by the queen's guards, Milady opens up to a queen's servant, Constance (Lyna Khoudri).

Green said those scenes allowed her to let down Milady's armor a bit.

"I like to see the cracks," Green said.

Both Three Musketeers movies gave Green a chance to display Milady's physical prowess. For the role, she said she studied fencing and martial arts. In one of Milady's fight scenes, Green wields a sword and a dagger.

"I was actually better with two things in my hands," Green said. "I'm much more agile if I have two weapons. Go figure."

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The climax occurs after Milady sets fire to the palace. Green said rehearsals could not prepare her for working on flaming sets.

"It was so hot and you don't have much room to fight," Green said. "I had to be really careful with my steps because I had a dress and didn't want it to catch fire."

Before Three Musketeers, Green starred in other adaptations of literature. Green starred on the Showtime series Penny Dreadful, which combined novels Frankenstein, Dracula and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Green starred in the film 300: Rise of an Empire, based on the Frank Miller graphic novel.

Green also played Vesper Lynd in the James Bond film, Casino Royale, based on Ian Fleming's first 007 novel, which began Daniel Craig's tenure in the film series.

Green said she was was surprised when Craig's four subsequent films referenced his grief over Lynd's death.

"It's such a strong character because she kind of broke James Bond's heart and made him who he is," Green said. "I like to think that I'm not replaceable."

Green also acted in historical period pieces early in her career. She played Jerusalem Queen Sibylla in Kingdom of Heaven, though much of her material was omitted from the theatrical release.

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Ridley Scott released a director's cut on DVD, restoring 45 minutes of footage to the 12th-century Crusades epic. Much of that footage revolves around a subplot about Sibylla and her son.

"I felt kind of amputated at the time [of the theatrical release]," Green said. "People should only watch the long version."

Green's movie career began with Bernardo Bertolucci's 2003 film The Dreamers. She said casting directors invited her to audition while she was doing a play.

Had Bertolucci not cast her as the female lead in the NC-17 love triangle, Green said, she suspects she might not have continued acting.

"I think it's thanks to Bernardo that I'm in the business now for sure," she said.

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