«My hero — the old wolf»: Vincent Cassel on playing Athos in the latest «Three Musketeers»

Martin Bourboulon's "The Three Musketeers: D'Artagnan", which premiered on April 6, 2023, delighted audiences with an impressive cast. François Civil, the star of "Trading Places", embodies D'Artagnan, while Eva Green takes on the role of Milady, and Louis Garrel portrays Louis XIII. The pinnacle of the casting, however, sees Vincent Cassel, adored by millions, masterfully bringing Athos to life.

A life-long tale

The saga of the gallant musketeers has followed Cassel since his childhood. As a boy, he accompanied his father on the set of Richard Lester's "The Three Musketeers" (1973), in which Jean-Pierre Cassel portrayed Louis XIII. The vivid sets, the extraordinary costumes, the sharp swords — the young boy was entirely enchanted by the spectacle. Even in his wildest dreams, he could not envision that he too would become part of this legendary story. Albeit in his case, the role would not be the king, but the noble warrior, Athos.

"I admire him greatly because he is the one who best bridges the various episodes of Dumas's saga. He is a sufferer, bearing the weight of his past on his shoulders, tormented by guilt, shame, and regret. He experiences a whole spectrum of emotions," Vincent speaks of his character.

Vast Experience

The director wasn't deterred by the fact that Cassel is significantly older than the literary character. Dumas did not specify an exact age, merely hinted that Athos was "no more than thirty" at the start of the narrative. Cassel had already turned 55 by the time of filming. "I use my age to benefit the role. For me, Athos is an old wolf. He sets an example for his fellow musketeers," the Frenchman explains.
Vincent Cassel's portrayal of Athos diverges significantly from the original
Vincent Cassel's portrayal of Athos diverges significantly from the original
Cassel found it quite simple to sink into the role — his 35 years in the film industry had given him ample experience with weaponry and horse riding. The only thing that remained was to adjust the acquired skill: Athos is a true aristocrat, and his horseback riding style needed to reflect that.

Attire and Hairstyle

The director and costume designers swiftly agreed that Vincent's character would be best dressed in darker hues. Cassel requested his attire be warm, flexible, and light, as the actors were to perform outdoors in conditions where temperatures often plunged below freezing.

Details were refined along the way. For instance, at Vincent's request, an elegant scarf adorned Athos' neck. First and foremost, it lent an aristocratic sheen to the character, and secondly, provided a modicum of warmth during nocturnal shoots.
The Three Musketeers. Trailer
Interestingly, it was also Cassel's suggestion to portray Athos with long hair. He believed this detail amplified the character's drama. "When his hair is cut, it's a significant blow to his honor. He ceases to be distinctive," the actor opines.

A considerable amount of time was spent finding the optimal hairstyle and mustache for the "weary, old gray wolf". Fortunately, Vincent had recently been involved in a shoot requiring a short haircut and a clean-shaven face, significantly easing the task for the makeup artists of "The Three Musketeers".


For all the pieces of the film to come together, good "chemistry" was needed amongst the actors. Fortunately, Cassel swiftly found common ground with all the main cast members.

He had been acquainted with Romain Duris (Aramis) since the late 90s. Both had starred in the action film "Dobermann", and later shared the screen in "Black Tide" (2017). "Romain has always seemed incredibly charming to me," shared the ex-husband of Monica Bellucci.
A still from The Three Musketeers
A still from The Three Musketeers
Although it was his first time working with Pio Marmaï (Porthos) and François Civil (D’Artagnan), there were no complications. "I think we all admired each other," Cassel explained.

According to the actor, Pio has "mad energy"; Marmaï reminded Vincent of the 1970s movie star Patrick Dewaere, "only without the depressive moods". Civil, as the actor perceives, is naturally brave, intelligent, and straightforward, making him an ideal candidate for the role of D'Artagnan.

Having recently spent three and a half months with Eva Green on the set of the mini-series "Liaison" (2022), Cassel was delighted to collaborate with her for a second time. "I admire her; we get along very well. It was delightful to cross swords with her again. I knew she would be an extraordinary Milady," the actor revealed.
Vinsent Cassel and Eva Green
Vinsent Cassel and Eva Green
Discover more about Vincent's other roles and personal life in his biography on zoomboola.com.