It’s never too early for Oscar season to start, as evidenced by a brand new award-worthy featurette for “Les Misérables,” director Tom Hooper’s adaptation of the beloved musical. The new footage centers on the film’s innovative use of music; rather than relying on post-production recordings, the esteemed ensemble of actors are singing live right on the set, aided only by an ear piece playing live piano accompaniment.
“It’s going to be different, for sure,” actress Anne Hathaway, who plays pivotal supporting character Fantine , says in the featurette. “This is the first time anyone has ever tried it like this.”
Hathaway’s rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” was the centerpiece of the “Les Misérables” trailer released earlier this year, and it gains an equal amount of attention towards the end of this latest featurette. Eddie Redmayne, who stars in the musical as young rebel-in-love Marius, praised Hathaway’s performance: “When I saw the trailer with Anne singing with this extraordinary fragility, that song I thought I knew pretty well… suddenly, I listened to the lyrics for the first time, afresh.”
“There seems to be something selfish about trying to go for the pretty version,” Hathaway said of her approach towards the heartbreaking number. “She’s devastated. She’s literally at the bottom of a hole and realizing she’s never going to climb out of this. So I just decided to play the truth to the melody and see what would happen.”
Like Hathaway, star Hugh Jackman sang the praises of the “Les Mis” musical process. “The idea of singing live is daunting, but what it gives you is freedom,” he said of his experience on the set. “I can take a break, I can move on, I can speed up, I can slow it down — which means I just have to worry about acting it.”
“It’s so much more powerful,” agreed Amanda Seyfried, who plays Cosette, the adopted daughter of Jackman’s Jean Valjean. “You have complete freedom and complete control. When you’re doing a love scene as an actor, you just wish there was music to help you get there. Now you hear the piano in your ears. Now you’re there with the music. It almost makes you cry.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Les Miserables.”