<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
5 ISSUES FOR £5 Subscribe to France Magazines today click here

An interview with Tom Burke

PUBLISHED: 12:03 10 April 2014 | UPDATED: 12:06 10 April 2014

WARNING: Use of this copyright image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' Digital Picture Service (BBC Pictures) as set out at www.bbcpictures.co.uk. In particular, this image may only be published by a registered User of BBC Pictures for editorial use for the purpose of publicising the relevant BBC programme, personnel or activity during the Publicity Period which ends three review weeks following the date of transmission and provided the BBC and the copyright holder in the caption are credited. For any other purpose whatsoever, including advertising and commercial, prior written approval from the copyright holder will be required.

Actor TOM BURKE plays Athos in The Musketeers, the BBC’s new interpretation of the swashbuckling novel 
by Alexandre Dumas père. He tells Zoë McIntyre about the part and his other French roles

Tell us about your character, Athos, in The Musketeers.

He is seemingly the most independent character among the musketeers and there is a sort of remoteness to him, because he carries around a great weight to do with his past. There is a line in the Dumas novel, ‘he smiles but he never laughs’, which was the most helpful line to me when playing the part.

How familiar are you with the original novel, Les Trois Mousquetaires (1844)?

I had already read the book before seeing director Richard Lester’s two Musketeers films [1973 and 1974]. Then I read the book again and kept dipping in and out while we were filming. 
It was brilliant source material to inspire the series.

How faithful has the director Adrian Hodges been to the story?

I’m not sure if he would use the word adaptation – what he wanted to do was take the characters and build a new plot. The relationships are still there – such as Athos and Milady – but he has reinvented it. One element in the book is a comedy of manners, where there is a lot of humour coming from the etiquette of duelling and killing somebody. But Adrian wanted a fast-paced immediacy, so that has been distilled somewhat. The book is very wordy in a way, but what remains to the fore is the world of the court with the cardinal and the King and Queen.

Which other Dumas adaptations have you enjoyed?

Nobody does them as well as the French – I particularly like the film La Reine Margot (1994) and The Count of Monte Cristo (a 1998 TV mini-series) with Gérard Depardieu, both adapted from Dumas novels. Watching them made me realise what Dumas does so well; revenge is obviously a prevalent theme and there are many stories in that genre, but what he writes about so brilliantly is the cost of revenge for the avenger and how it wears away at them. I had that in my head while we were filming.

Which other French films and books do you admire?

I love Camille (La Dame aux Camélias) by Alexandre Dumas fils and would like to do it as a play; there was a fantastic theatre adaptation by English playwright Pam Gems. My favourite film is Rust and Bone [starring Marion Cotillard].

What was it like playing Napoléon in the 2007 BBC docudrama about the Battle of Toulon in 1793?

The filming was on a very tight schedule – I was in all but one scene – and on a budget. For the last battle scene, I was under a rain machine for about seven nights, so it was a slog, but what a great character to play. You have to realise that Napoléon was on a mission from day one. People really liked the episode – it was part of a series called Heroes and Villains – and at one point [writer-director] Nick Murphy did suggest picking up Napoléon’s life five years on, which would have been an amazing thing to do.

Tell us about filming Colette’s novel Chéri (2009) in Paris

Colette is a fantastic author – I read both books [Chéri and the sequel La Fin de Chéri]. The stories, which are about the love affair between an older woman and a younger man, have a wonderful grasp of what constitutes the beauty of a woman. The second book is particularly interesting, which the film didn’t go into. I had a wonderful time while filming, hanging out with Anita Pallenberg and Harriet Walter, who were also in the film, and that was when I really saw Paris properly.

What did you make of the city?

I love Paris; it’s just an amazing place for a Londoner to go. In London there are these little pockets where a bomb was dropped in the middle of a historic street during the war. With Paris it is just like going back in time – there is so much that still looks like the Belle Époque era in which the film was set.

The Musketeers is being broadcast on BBC One on Sundays at 9pm.


Article by France Magazine France Magazine

More from Travel

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Deep in the south of France, Aude is a land of history and tourism, warmth and authenticity. From its Cathar castles to the Canal du Midi, the medieval cité of Carcassonne and the beautiful village of Lagrasse, Aude has a unique character

Read more
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The sun is shining and the flowers are blooming, spring has sprung in France! Take a look at how stunning France is in the spring

Read more
Monday, April 16, 2018

Want to discover all the secret destinations France has to offer? Escape the tourist trail in these hidden and underrated French locations

Read more
Culture and attractions
Thursday, April 12, 2018

Discover the 25 shortlisted regional French markets and vote for your favourite one in the Votre Plus Beau Marché competition in France

Read more
Culture and attractions
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Tripadvisor listed these 10 beaches as the best beaches in France in their Travellers’ Choice awards – do you agree?

Read more
French beaches
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

There are 7 amazing national parks in mainland France, here is a quick guide to the French national parks and why you should make time to visit all of them

Read more
Provence-Alpes-Cote d Azur
Thursday, March 22, 2018

With CroisiEurope, you’ll cruise the rivers of Europe on board your own French restaurant. Experience an authentic holiday sailing from city to city, our ship will be your floating hotel: small enough to moor at a town port, but large enough to provide you with every amenity

Read more
Boating in France
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Picturesque fishing ports and beautiful sea views…the French coast is full of charming little towns. Here are some of France’s prettiest coastal villages.

Read more
Provence-Alpes-Cote d Azur
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Rooting and rummaging around a French brocante is one of the best ways to spend a weekend morning. Here are 7 flea markets you won’t want to miss...

Read more
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Although the Champagne region isn’t necessarily the first place you think of when planning a barge cruise holiday, it offers beautiful scenery, great places to visit and, of course, plenty of champagne! And with prices from just €1,220 per person, it’s more affordable than you might think...

Read more
Boating in France
Subscribe today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now