For his adaptation of the mega-musical “Les Misérables,” Tom Hooper has taken a much different approach to bringing a stage work to the big screen. The Academy Award-winning director behind “The King’s Speech” allowed his actors to look poor, tired and dirty. Plus, they all recorded their vocals live on set.
The first trailer for “Les Misérables” debuted online Wednesday (May 30), giving us a fuller look at what to expect. Naturally, Anne Hathaway has been the big talking point coming out of the clip. And while the actress sports a rougher look in Hooper’s flick, fans will get to see her as Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman) when exclusive footage from “The Dark Knight Rises” debuts at the MTV Movie Awards this Sunday, June 3, at 9 p.m. ET on MTV.
For now, read on as we break down five key scenes from the musical:
Hugh Jackman’s Transformation
The first image we ever saw from Hooper’s adaptation of the hit musical showed Jackson, looking much rougher than we’re used to seeing him. The photo — and much of the footage from this first trailer — comes from the first part of the film, where Jackman’s character, Jean Valjean has just been released from prison after 14 years. The look is much different from the cleaned-up Jackman we’ll see later in the film, but the rough design proves that Hooper is going further than a little dirt on the cheeks to bring a real-life feel to pre-revolution France.
“I Dreamed a Dream”
Hathaway’s stripped-down version of “I Dreamed a Dream” is both surprising and effective. Most performers belt the sorrowful tune, but for Hooper’s take, the actors recorded their vocals live on set, so Hathaway’s quieter, sadder version makes sense logistically. The toned-down version proves much more cinematic, simpler and more tragic in a way. Bloggers at this year’s CinemaCon threw it immediately into the running for an Academy Award after only seeing a short clip. If the trailer is any evidence, they may not have been far off.
One of the most iconic images from the musical, the barricade, makes a prominent appearance in the trailer. It’s one of the many images the trailer cuts to as Hathaway sings “I Dream a Dream.” Additionally, the clip provides glimpses of Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Eddie Redmayne as Marius and Samantha Barks as Eponine.
In addition to her toned-down vocals, Hathaway’s locks will also stir conversation. After losing her job, Hathaway’s character, Fantine, sells her hair in order to provide for her daughter. Hathaway really cut her hair for the part.
Crowe as Javert
The other major character in this miserable affair is Russell Crowe as dogged policeman Javert. He spends years searching for Jean Valjean, hoping to throw him back in prison for breaking his parole. In this scene, Javert looks off a bridge off into the distance, perhaps depicting or referencing his own destiny.