Singing Live: “a Bit like Doing a Nude Scene,” says Hugh Jackman

Let the Les Misérables press begin: Entertainment Weekly has published the first interview of Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, where they both talk about the upcoming Tom Hooper-directed film adaptation of the popular musical (based on the popular Victor Hugo book). There’s some great insight into Hugh’s approach towards Jean Valjean, including preparations such as reading scenes featuring his character the night before he was due to shoot equivalent scenes. He also talks a little of Colm Wilkinson and Russell Crowe, including their influences on him on and off the Les Mis set. Lastly, there’s some philosophical Hugh to wade through with regards to the novel’s overall message and theme. Check out an excerpt below before heading to the source for more; it’s also been added to the press archive:

Since [Colm Wilkinson] played Jean Valjean for years, was there anything valuable you picked up from him?
I did ask him a couple questions, but I remember him saying at one point, “It doesn’t matter in the end. What matters is you do it your way.” He said, “I’ve been to some shows, and I see them trying to do it the way I did. And I actually didn’t do it the way it was written. In the end, the way it was written didn’t really serve me, so I changed it. And now people think that’s how it was written, when it wasn’t.”

What a very Valjean thing to do: defy the rules.
That’s absolutely right! The other thing he said was he used to read the book periodically when doing the show, because it’s like dipping into gold. I’d read the book a couple of times, and I marked it up so I would read the scene written in the book the night before I would go on and act the scene in the film.

The other co-star I wanted to talk about was Russell Crowe. Valjean is very New Testament, all about forgiveness and redemption, and Javert is very Old Testament, much more about wrath and judgment.
We really pushed each other. That rivalry at the beginning, it really is a constant throughout. It had to be strong, and it’s really one of the spines of the story, that runs from beginning to end.