Les Misérables (2012)

Director: Tom Hooper
Writer: Alain Boublil (book), Claude-Michel Schönberg (composer), Victor Hugo (novelist), William Nicholson

Cast: Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), Marius (Eddie Redmayne), Enjolras (Aaron Tveit), Eponine (Samantha Barks), Thénardier (Sacha Baron Cohen), Madame Thénardier (Helena Bonham Carter)

Genres: Drama, Musical
Released: December 25, 2012 (USA)
Running time: 158 minutes
MPAA: PG-13 – suggestive and sexual material, violence, thematic elements

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice, and redemption — a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jean Valjean is hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.

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» Trivia

• Hugh was the first actor to be cast in the film, playing the protagonist, Jean Valjean. It is said he had a three-hour long audition.

• Director Tom Hooper debated whether or not to film Les Misérables in 3D, but ultimately decided not to. Wanting the story to retain its universal appeal, he opted to film in the traditional format. Similarly, the production team decided that singing live on camera – rather than the actors lip-syncing to a prerecorded track – would keep the finished product more honest.

• Composer Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyricist Alain Boublil wrote a new song exclusively for the film, entitled “Suddenly.” Hugh Jackman is set to sing the song. Schönberg also composed new incidental music.

• Hugh sang “Bring Him Home” fourteen times within two hours. Incidentally, he filmed that song on his son’s birthday while Oscar was in New York City.

• Typically, the soundtrack for a movie musical is recorded several months in advance and the actors mime to playback during filming. However, on this film, every single song was recorded live on set to capture the spontaneity of the performances. Everyone involved, from Hugh Jackman to Russell Crowe to producer Cameron Mackintosh, have praised this approach as it allowed them to concentrate on their acting as opposed to lip-syncing properly. They have also praised director Tom Hooper for attempting this on such a scale; something no director has ever done before.

• Recording the actors’ singing live as they’re acting may not be a first for this film, but the scope, and especially the manner in which it’s being done, is: The actors wore ear pieces which fed the sound of a live piano being played off-stage, to keep their singing in key. The main novelty here is, there’s no count-in or predetermined tempo and the piano is following the pacing of the actor, not the other way around – a first for a filmed musical. Orchestral music was added post-production.

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Watch the film starring Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush

Original (French) Cast Recording
Original Broadway Cast Recording
Original London Cast Recording
Complete Symphonic Recording
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25th Anniversary Concert: Watch & Listen