Disney sets 3 ‘Musketeers’

Walt Disney Pictures has moved one step closer to getting its mid-April production “The Three Musketeers” fully mounted, setting three of the four leading roles with Chris O’Donnell, Kiefer Sutherland and Charlie Sheen.

Contracts for the trio are being finalized and are expected to be signed in the next couple of days, according to Caravan Pictures’ Roger Birnbaum. He is producing the pic with Joe Roth and Jordan Kerner, who serves as executive producer with partner Jon Avnet.

The movie, based on David Loughery’s adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ classic, is set to roll around April 15 in Vienna, moving on to Salzburg and London.

Disney sources believe the casting could prove to be a fatal blow to TriStar’s efforts to launch its still-uncast “Three Musketeers,” which Jeremiah Chechik is to direct and Allyn Stewart to produce from a Joel Gross script.

However, TriStar sources insist the studio is prepared to “run” with its version if top brass likes Gross’ second rewrite, due Friday.

TriStar reportedly has offers out to actors contingent on the script.

In Disney’s version, O’Donnell will play D’Artagnan; two of the three Musketeers, Athos and Aramis, will be portrayed by Sutherland and Sheen, respectively.

Caravan and Avnet/Kerner have been working in tandem on the film’s casting, with Avnet/Kerner bringing in O’Donnell, who appeared in their production of “Fried Green Tomatoes,” as well as starring in “Scent of a Woman.”

The production reunites Roth and Birnbaum with Sutherland and Sheen, who both starred in “Young Guns,” which was produced by Morgan Creek and released by 20th Century Fox.

Sheen also worked with Roth and Birnbaum on “Hot Shots!” and “Hot Shots Deux!” while the two were at Fox, and with Roth on Morgan Creek’s “Major League.”

Dean Semler will be director of photography and Michael Kamen will compose the film’s score.

Disney is targeting the movie for Thanksgiving release.

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