The Man in
the Iron Mask
Leonard DiCaprio played dual roles in this 1998 remake of the Dumas classic: Louis XIV the King of France and his "younger" twin brother, Phillipe. The film also starred: Jeremy Irons (as Aramis), Gabriel Byrne (as d'Artagnan), John Malkovich (as Athos), and Gerard Depardieu (as Porthos).
The Plot: King Louis' wars are causing strife, poverty and starvation among his subjects but he's too focused on his own concerns to pay much attention to such "triflings". When he sees to it that a young man is killed in action, just so Louis is free to court the young man's fiance himself, an aging Three Musakteers (Athos, Porthos and Aramis) plot to replace the king with his twin brother, Phillipe. The problem: Louis has imprisoned Phillipe and confined him to an iron mask so no one can see his face (and thus identify him as the king's twin).
The Three Muskateers free Phillipe from his prison, and then convince him to betray his brother and take over the thrown. The plan seems to be going well until the captain of the king's bodyguards, d'Artagnan, a Muskateer himself, discovers the imposter, Phillipe, and sees to it that Louis is restored to his throne... if only temporarily.
d'Artagnan begs Louis to have mercy on Phillipe -- siting that they are twins, brothers, blood -- but Louis is unmoved. He demands that d'Artagnan locate the Muskateers and kill them, and casts Phillipe back into the prison and the iron mask. Seeing his king "fail" him, d'Artagnan decides to join with The Muskateers to free Phillipe.
In a against-the-odds battle in the prison, during which Louis pits the whole of the copse of Muskateers against d'Artagnan, his freinds and Phillipe, d'Artagnan is killed... When their captain falls, the younger soldiers refuse to obey any more of Louis orders, and instead turn against him, seeing to it that Phillipe is ensconced as king.
Our Review: This remake is an excellent one, and through the twins, DiCaprio again displayed the range of acting ability that has made him so popular. His Louis is cold, arrogant, hedonistic and egocentric. His Phillipe is tender, respectful, and affectionate. Even in scenes when the brothers are shown together, DiCaprio is able to keep their personalities separate, thus supplying viewers with the illusion that Louis and Phillipe are two entirely different people.
The added plot's quirks -- such as the fact that the brothers are the illegitimate sons of d'Artagnan, that Aramis is the secret general of the Jesuit order, and that Phillipe assumesthe role of "son" to Athos (who's own son was killed by Louis) -- make the film all that more interesting. And the "charge of the Muskateers" against Louis' army of soldiers at the end of the film is exhillerating. "Magnificent valor", indeed!
Supported by an anstounding cast which includes Irons, Byrne and Malkovich, we believe this motion picture is destined to be a long-lived "costume drama" classic.
[[The montage of images above/left includes the following: (top to bottom) Phillipe gazes at the moon; Louis is held captive by Athos; d'Artagnan attempts to restrain King Louis; Phillipe meets his mother for the first time; Louis pits his army against the Three Muskateers; Phillipe shows pity to Christine; Phillipe is returned to prison; Phillipe as the new King.]]
INTERVIEWS ABOUT THE FILM:
Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:49 PM
Judith Godreche recalls bedding the Great DiCaprio in The Man in the Iron Mask
By Stephen Schaefer
Judith Godreche is not in love with Leonardo DiCaprio, and she has never seen Titanic. But though she lags behind millions of teenage girls on both counts, the French actress has been somewhere they've all dreamt aboutLeo's bed.
A rising star in European filmsshe won raves in last year's Oscar-nominated costume drama RidiculeGodreche co-stars in The Man in the Iron Mask as a voluptuous peasant who becomes the lust object of DiCaprio's King Louis XIV. So, for all of her credentials as a serious thesp, she is now bracing to become the Woman Who Made Love to Leo, a bosomy addition to the global Leo-mania that has erupted in Titanic's wake.
A word of warning to DiCaprio skin-seekers: the steamy encounters between Christine and her king are not actually seen in the PG-13 film, which opens Friday. The bedroom scene is largely devoted to postcoital depression stemming from the fact that Christine's true love has recently been killed in battle. "That's kind of funnythere's no sex," says Godreche by cell phone from Paris. "There's not nudity or anything. We were not supposed to simulate making loveit's not that obvious. Things like making love or simulating love, I think I'd feel insecure."
The lack of on-screen passion doesn't indicate an absence of chemistry between the actors. "I was excited and really scared," she recalls of her first meeting with the American star. "I was scared about the language, scared the English words would come out of my mouth in a weird way." DiCaprio soon calmed her down. "He was a rock," she recalls, in charmingly accented English. "We were rehearsing a lot, talking about our characters, sharing our thoughts. It was nice that he was so young and so romantic in a weird way."
The actors spent a lot of time trying to get the intimate details of their nuit d'amour just right. "We were talking about very emotional things, [like] the fact that Christine was not in love with the king. We talked so much about why she's making love with him if she doesn't love him. I was stuck on that," Godreche admits. "Why you could make love if you don't love. Christine is very pure and innocent. I'm wondering how she could do this."
DiCaprio, she recalls, provided a simple answer: "She didn't have the choicehe is the king."
DiCaprio has two roles in Iron Mask, playing the cruel young king and his good-natured twin brother, imprisoned in the Bastille in an iron mask for years. He arrived in Paris to make the movie immediately after he finished filming Titanicwhich looked, at the time, like it might be a disaster of Waterworld proportions. "We didn't talk about [Titanic]," says Godreche. "I knew it was a huge movie and he had a lot of things to do in it. Everyone was telling him that it was going to be good. But I didn't know it was going to be that successful."
Good Morning America
By Joel Siegel:
DiCAPRIO: "...I did a film over the summer called The Man in the Iron Mask with John Malkovich and Jeremy Irons and Gerard Depardieu and Gabriel Byrne and that was unbelievable, working with those guys. I mean it's so cool with working people in that caliber because they're so relaxed about everything. They're almost like children in a sense; it's fun for them at this point. And it was totally cool working on that. But for now, after that movie, I'm taking a long time off."
A FEW MORE IMAGES FROM "THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK"
Much of the difference between Louis and Phillipe was played out in their eyes. DiCaprio's Louis (above) was a fierce self-preservationist; while his Phillipe (below) was a soft-hearted hero.
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