Three or Four Musketeers
Lately there has been so much ado about my upcoming engagements that my favourite project got lost in the news. What a pity! But make no mistake: it’s still on. My friend Gabriel is trying to do a remake of The Magnificent Seven with an all-Irish cast, but has not come very far with it. Or so it seems… Whenever Daniel Day-Lewis and I are in London at the same time, we try to get together. OK, mainly to chat, but to talk up our projects as well. Liam joins us sometimes, and it’s a very intimate circle, fine friends gathered under one roof. Usually Rebecca goes out to see a friend or takes care of the boys during these meetings, leaving us to our thoughts in our Irish gentlemen’s club. Smoking allowed! Talk of The Magnificent Seven project began when Gabriel returned from shooting The Man in the Iron Mask with Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich and Gérard Depardieu. We started off discussing Leonardo DiCaprio, but later Gabriel got us infected with the French historical stuff that he was so mad about. I had to add my two cents with my Parisian knowledge. And so it went, each of us keeping in mind what we talked about and theoretically developed, while denying publicly any talks about working together. The classic version, directed by John Sturges (no relation to my TV son in Thursday the 12th), brought together the incredibly artistic powers of Mr. Brynner, Mr. McQueen, Mr. Vaughn, Mr. Wallach and Mr. Coburn. The TV series directed by Christopher Cain did well only about 10 years ago, so a big-screen remake would have to be a distant prospect for quite some time. We thought of involving Gerard McSorley (I told him while shooting Veronica Guerin; he just laughed) and Gerard Butler (I told him while shooting Phantom of the Opera, he thought I was nuts). Nowadays I’d think of asking James Purefoy to sign on, since he’s been doing a great job opposite me for several years. When I talked about candidates to my friend Michael Apted, he took a close look at me and burst out laughing. When I asked what he was thinking about, he just shook his head and gave me another look that I took as a warning. “Are you up for another Troy?” he wanted to know. I had no idea what that was supposed to mean. He took pity on me and said: “I had no idea when I saw Gabriel talking to Brian last Saturday, but now I see what is going on! Brian didn’t want to tell me about his little chat; that makes sense now. He knew I was going to see you around and would most likely tell you about his meeting with Gabriel.” My reply was a simple “I see” and off I went from the set that day. Brian Cox and Gabriel Byrne! I couldn’t believe it. Some years ago, I had a meeting with Brad Pitt about playing the Greek king in Petersen’s Troy, but the part went to Brian instead. I was working on Mickybo and Me in Ireland, and someone must have misinformed Wolfgang about my future engagements. The talk of the day was that Brian or someone of his entourage was behind that plot. At the time, he had just gotten divorced and remarried and, as malicious tongues might say, needed a bigger part to finance his new life with a young wife and baby son. I went on to act in Munich, but would have loved to be in the historic piece. And not only to please my daughter by being in a movie with Brad Pitt to make up for that missed chance with Johnny Depp. But to have Gabriel asking Brian to take the Eli Wallach part was mean. OK, it wasn’t the part I would be playing, but it did stir up memories. During our next meeting in London, I got straight to the point and asked about Brian, and Gabriel looked sheepish. A simple “Sorry, I had no idea that that gossip was hitting so close to home” ended talk of The Magnificent Seven project. Daniel wanted to save the day and proposed another idea. What could it be? A piece with just the three of us (or maybe four, counting Liam). Some historical stuff that inspires our enthusiasm and spirit to work together. Daniel as Aramis, Gabriel again as d’Artagnan. All eyes were set on Daniel, but he’d stopped his listing. Liam and I exchanged glances. Us as Porthos and Athos? “No,” his reply came promptly. “You, Liam, as Buckingham and Ciarán as Richelieu.” To make a long story short, he made up for his ridiculous suggestion by playing opposite me in There Will Be Blood. We’re still waiting for a remake and are continuing our secret discussions about an Irish western, sometimes interrupted for an argument about whether we’d better be in a Three Musketeer or Four Musketeer version. Fun and games indeed!