‘Les Miserables’ Director Calls Live Singing ‘Essential,’ Lip Syncing ‘Fake’

Tom Hooper says his decision made it easier to capture the highs and lows of the story's 'emotional rollercoaster.'

The big-screen adaptation of “Les Misérables,” has been gaining a lot of Oscar buzz momentum , and in less than a month, fans will finally see what all the fuss is about. Ahead of its release on December 25, director Tom Hooper opened up to MTV News about the one pivotal decision he made to tell the famous tale.

In order to maintain the story’s highs and lows, Hooper knew the only way to adapt the legendary musical for the big screen was to make its A-list cast, including Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, sing the tracks live on set, allowing the emotions to be channeled into the songs. And, if the teasers and trailers show us anything, it’s that it really captures the spirit of the beloved story. That’s why Hooper said it was “essential,” a decision the cast agreed with.

“The whole sense that the character is producing the song, rather than the character is following a song, completely changes the medium of the music,” he said. “It’s amazing how much more visceral and how much more real it is. I, for one, find lip syncing; it’s always made me find it fake. Even the great musicals, I have to kind of forgive them for miming. It’s a real step forward in the form which we are all really excited to be involved in.”

“Les Mis” is Hooper’s first release since 2010′s critically-acclaimed “The King’s Speech,” and he shared that he felt the live singing aspect of this film gives it the same gravitas that his other Oscar-caliber film had when it hit theaters two years ago. “I didn’t want any barrier between the audience and the emotion, and having had the chance to touch people with ‘The King’s Speech’ and create an emotional story, I was really keen to do another film that was a real emotional powerhouse,” he said. “And ‘Les Mis’ is the ultimate emotional rollercoaster.”

And “Les Mis” fanatics shouldn’t worry that the movie strays much from the original staging, because Hooper is a long-time admirer himself. So he made sure that when he sat down to adapt the film from the stage to movie-musical form he kept as much of its integrity as possible, meaning the actors will definitely sing their hearts out with very little focus on dialogue. He didn’t want the audience to be distracted by what he called “awkward gear changes.”

He calls his decision to keep the musical a true musical “unusual” in the world of film, but it seems that it stems from his passion for all things “Les Mis.”

“I’m also a huge lover of the book. I mean. Victor Hugo’s novel is one of the great works and I’ve read it now, God, three or four times, and I took inspiration from aspects of the novel,” he said. “And then with the help of the original composers, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil of the musical, we’ve created some new material just for the film, and to be collaborating with the people who created ‘Les Mis’ 26 years ago in making the film and the film soundtrack has been one of the great and special privileges of this.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Les Misérables.”