There’s something quite magical about musical theater, about any stage production, whether it be a play, a music concert, or a fashion show. For the actor there’s the challenge of never knowing what will happen next, whether or not the moments, the beats, and the relationship with the cast mates will be the same. For the audience member, he or she has the joy of seeing a story unfold right before their eyes. These are people in real time, recreating a story, through the director’s vision. On December 25th, Academy Awarding winning director Tom Hooper will aim to recreate some of that magic in the film adaptation of the beloved musical Les Miserables.
Tom Hooper Delivers
A new behind-the-scenes feature reveals the tedious yet refreshing process the actors found themselves in during the production phase. When the final cast list for Les Miserables rolled out, fans made their opinions and concerns known. In fact, only Hugh Jackman, Helena Bonham Carter, Aaron Tveit and Samantha Barks, received the public’s approval. Amanda Seyfried, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Eddie Redmayne didn’t feel the same immediate love. It wasn’t until people learned that Seyfried was indeed trained in opera, that Crowe had a singing career back in Australia, and that Hathaway could carry a tune, that the general audience started to come around.
On top of that, Hooper had enough trust in his actors’ talents that he was willing to do something never done in a musical theater Hollywood film — have each member sing live on the set during production. Forget pre-recording the tracks before hand and laying them on top of the filmed scenes in post-production. These are the actors’ voices as filmed. This gave the actors a chance to explore with vocal patterns and emotions. If they wanted, they had the freedom to change the flow, pace, and length of lyrics and notes. They could also go from speaking to singing at anytime in the song.
I won’t go into depth about the process since the cast does a damn good job explaining it themselves in the featurette. I’m throughly impressed with the dedication and time each actor spent with the story and its characters. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll see the title “Les Miserables” multiple times on the Academy’s nomination list. But until then we’ll have to wait for the second trailer, which will hopefully be available in October.
Directed by Tom Hooper and starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, and Aaron Tveit, Les Misérables hits theaters December 25th, 2012.
Go Behind the Scenes of ‘Les Miserables’