Byrne lands ‘Mask’ role


NEW YORK — Though Leonardo DiCaprio plays the lead in Randall Wallace’s new adaptation of the Al-exandre Dumas novel “The Man in the Iron Mask,” Gabriel Byrne got perhaps the most coveted role, the swash-buckling D’Artagnan.

He joins John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons and Gerard Depardieu in the film, which marks the directing debut of Wallace, who scripted “Braveheart.” The United Artists film begins shooting April 28 in London and France.

Byrne campaigned hard for the role, turning down other work to make it happen. He’ll be paid a career-best salary in the low seven figures, and at age 46 is moving up the leading man ladder. He’ll be seen shortly starring with Julia Ormond in the Bille August-directed “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” for Fox Searchlight, and wrapped the starring role alongside Claire Danes in Fox Searchlight’s “Polish Wedding.”

He also just starred in HBO’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” and is developing two films at Phoenix Pictures that he’s writing, will co-produce and star in.

Byrne is represented by manager Rick Yorn and ICM.

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