TIME Declares ‘Les Mis’ a “Whole New Kind of Musical”

TIME has written a great feature article on the upcoming movie-musical, Les Misérables, full of quotes from cast and crew involved. The article declares that the film is “a whole new kind of musical” due to the groundbreaking way in which it was shot: with everyone performing live on set. There’s a focus specifically on Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, including some anecdotes shared by Hugh involving the cop giving a homeless man boots and how he wouldn’t have been able to sing the role of Jean Valjean merely ten years ago. Check out an excerpt below before heading to the source for more; it’s also been added to the press archive.

In June 1832, a group of students, immigrants, and insurrectionists took to the streets of Paris, demanding change. The fervor of the French Revolution had withered amid vast economic inequality, food shortages and a cholera outbreak. The rebels occupied half the city using makeshift barricades: trembling stacks of stolen saplings and planks. While the insurgency ended overnight, it lasted long enough for novelist Victor Hugo to be caught in its crosshairs, pinned to a wall as bullets flew.

The events would inspire Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Misérables — which, 118 years later, inspired Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s musical. Since its Paris premiere in 1980, the star-crossed epic of good vs. evil has won eight Tonys, been translated into 21 languages, been seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries, and launched untold thousands of high school productions. It’s largely responsible for “Glee.” It’s almost entirely to blame for Susan Boyle.

Now it’s a Hollywood blockbuster-in-waiting, opening Christmas Day. Early reviews are ecstatic, and there’s talk of Oscars for stars Hugh Jackman (as the thief turned saintly savior Jean Valjean) and Anne Hathaway (as the doomed mother Fantine, whose poverty drives her to prostitution). And if the film doesn’t entirely match Hugo’s furious cry of class struggle, it may well launch a different kind of film revolution.