I was excited to find out from Lights, Camera, History that a new biopic of Alexandre Dumas is about to be released in France on February 10,2010. Dumas, the renowned author of The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers is alleged to have counted on the talents of a lesser known writer Auguste Jules Maquet in creating his masterpieces.
Gerard Depardieu acted in The Man in the Iron Mask and as the Count in Le comte de Monte Cristo (1998) and now takes on the role of the author of those tales. Benoît Poelvoorde (Coco avant Chanel) is Maquet.
From the Daily Telegraph:
"The relationship between Dumas, an ogre-like philanderer, and Maquet, a plain, family man is also the subject of L'Autre Dumas (The Other Dumas), a film starring Gerard Depardieu out on Wednesday in France.
In the 1830s, Maquet, a novelist and playwright, had tried to have his works published but was told: "You have written a masterpiece, but you're not a name and we only want names."
Another writer, Gerard de Nerval, put him in touch with Dumas and asked the famous author if he would rework one of Maquet's plays, which was subsequently published.
Soon afterwards, Dumas fled his creditors for Florence. There, he asked Maquet if he would let him publish one of his novels in serial form. Dumas renamed it Le Chevalier d'Harmental and it was published in 1841, signed only Alexandre Dumas.
This was to be the start of a fruitful literary partnership. Maquet would come up with the plots and historical backdrop and Dumas would embellish and expand on the story, Mr Schopp explained.
However, Dumas got Maquet to waive all ownership rights to their joint works. Then in 1858, the pair fell out over money. Maquet took him to court three times, asking for money and recognition.
His name would remain forever absent from the famous works. But he had one form of posthumous recognition: his tombstone in Paris's Pere-Lachaise cemetery is engraved with The Three Musketeers, the Count of Monte Cristo and La Reine Margot."
Visit Lights, Camera, History for more info!