‘Les Misérables’ Featurette Explores Process of Singing Live Onscreen

Published 3 years ago by

Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables stands apart from other movie musicals not only in terms of how grounded and tangible the setting feels, but also how the ensemble cast performed the original Broadway show’s tunes during filming – as opposed to either well-ahead of shooting or during post-production. The teaser trailer hinted at the results, with Anne Hathaway delivering an untraditional rendition of lyricists Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel’s song “I Dreamed a Dream.”

A new “extended look” at Hooper’s Les Miz highlights that aspect of the production via interviews with central cast members – Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe – as well as supporting players such as Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, and Samantha Barks.

Hooper’s approach with Les Misérables may prove somewhat divisive for musical theater lovers. On the one hand, as Jackman illustrates in the featurette, singing live does allow for more spontaneity in terms of performance; thus, the characters can behave in a more instinctive manner than they would striving to match pre-recorded vocals.

On the other hand, some hardcore Broadway fans prefer stage musicals that feature the talents of dedicated singers, rather than performers who are actors first and singers second. It’s for that reason that some music specialists take issue with films like Sweeney Todd and Mamma Mia!, where celebrities and acclaimed stars were cast over people with proven professional musician chops.

les miserables jackman hathaway Les Misérables Featurette Explores Process of Singing Live Onscreen

Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway in ‘Les Misérables’

Les Misérables, however, has the advantage of a cast that includes a Tony-winner (Jackman) and a part-time professional musician with nearly three decades of experience (Crowe), as well someone who actually appeared in the original stage show (Barks). The majority of the rest of the cast has already demonstrated some musical prowess either onstage or onscreen, so they too seem worthy to tackle the challenge Hooper has set before them.

Look (and listen) for Les Misérables when it opens in theaters on Christmas Day.

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. I love the story of Les Miserables and like this cast but I absolutely loathe musicals. The singing and dancing just gets in the way of telling the story. I’ll have to get it so I can fast forward through the music parts.

    • I’m with you. BTW can Russel Crowe even sing?

      • The answer to that would most assuredly be yes.

        • Yeah not bad at all lol

    • LOL! Then you are going to be fast forwarding the whole moving. This musical is sung-through, meaning there is no talking, they sing everything.

      Get your head out of the ground and try something new for a change. This musical is a masterpiece.

    • If you fast forward through the music parts, you will not be able to see anything. There are few (and i mean FEW) moments where they are not singing in this film. And it doesn’t take away from the story at all. They are progressive songs so, they all tell the story and they tell it very well.

  2. Singing live while filming is a daring choice and especially
    suited for Les Mis where the grit of its setting allows
    more freedom to this approach than otherwise.

    This would not be fitting for staged musicals of the past
    where precision dancing sequences would need music
    of equal precision which necessitate studio tracks.

    Many levels of emotion are only expressed in music
    and having singing in effect be a natural extension of
    speaking for the actors allows them to take the emotion
    of the scenes to higher levels expanding their expression.

  3. Just watch it. This will be an historical film. The emotionalism of the music combined with the reality of acting on film. I’ve seen the stage version three times and can’t wait for this film as I listen to the score regularly. Those who don’t know the show are going to be astounded. Those who do, can’t wait for this realistic version.

  4. This is by far, one of my all time favorite musicals. And to see this, on the screen, is going to be one of the highlights of my whole year. I’ve heard the score so many times, seen the show several times, I can actually hear Hugh, and Russell and Anne and everyone else already in my brain, its bloody brilliant and freaking scary!

  5. Last musical movie I saw was Phantom of the Opera and, much as I love Butler, his singing was TERRIBLE. This time it appears they cast people who can actually sing. I still have my reservations, but I’m willing to give it a try.

  6. Yes, please. This is one I’m lining up the babysitter now.

  7. I loved this movie musical, in every seen I just cried and cried. It touched me, the way that most movie musicals don’t. Wonderful, beautiful, magnificent.

  8. I loved this movie it was amazing Samantha did an awesome job. I wish Eponine didnt die and she married Marius. So sad ):

  9. Just loved the film,I have seen the stage show 3 times with various casts and this equates vey well.Myhusband can’t see the point of musicals but miracles of miracles he loved this high praise indeed!!