Several years ago my husband and I went to the Broadway stage performance of Les Miserables with friends. Although I first set eyes on my husband while he was acting in a play back in high school he’s not always the first to sign up for musicals. I remember him looking at me after the first few minutes of the performance had started and he blurted out, “Is the entire thing going to be singing?!”
Even to a skeptical viewer there’s no way to avoid being entranced by this amazing story and I was excited to see the interpretation on the big screen. I packed a box of kleenex and filed into the theater fully prepared to cry my eyes out with my girlfriends.
Hugh Jackman, Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway star in this critically acclaimed adaptation of the epic musical phenomenon. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells the story of ex-prisoner Jean Valjean (Jackman), hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe), after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever. This enthralling story is a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit and “an unforgettable experience” (Richard Roeper, RichardRoeper.com).
Although there’s nothing quite like the stage, the big screen did bring a new perspective on the classic story. There’s a certain realism that is captured. I felt like I more fully understand the twists and turns of the character development and connected to the heart of each character more fully (the tears were a testament to that).
Hugh Jackman shines in his lead roll in both his acting and singing ability. The same applies to the stunning Anne Hathaway who’s character opens your heart to human suffering and the love of a mother. Russell Crowe was an odd casting choice in my opinion. Although I feel he connected well to the heartless authority of Javert his singing strength and ability didn’t compare to the shining examples of his fellow cast members. It was breathtaking to watch the obvious stage experience and vocal talent of the other leading actors.
I was intrigued to find out more from behind the scenes with these videos. Check out the cast in warm-ups (can you imagine singing every word all day?) as well as the details explaining how this film set a groundbreaking variation on filming musicals (the difference shows).
Oddest Vocal Warm-Ups
I’m excited that Les Miserables is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD so I can share this with my husband again. It is truly a stunning piece of work.
- Les Misérables Singing Live: The star-studded cast and production team discuss how the daunting challenge of singing live rather than lip-syncing to pre-recorded tracks ultimately gave them the creative freedom to deliver nuanced, emotionally powerful performances.
- Battle at the Barricade: Director Tom Hooper wanted the dramatic building of the barricade to be as visceral and intense as possible, so he had his actors build it in real time, literally hurling furniture out of windows to construct an actual barricade. This featurette takes an in-depth look at the creation and filming of all the action on this remarkable set.
- The West End Connection: Meet the “godfather” of the original stage production of Les Misérables, renowned West End producer Cameron Mackintosh, who was deeply involved in the filming, as well as former Les Misérables, theatrical stars who were thrilled to appear in supporting roles in the current film.
- Les Misérables on Location: Filming rather than staging Les Misérables presents the opportunity to shoot in real world locations: a massive dry dock on the coast of England, a beautiful underground chapel in the heart of London and the ancient city of Winchester. Members of the cast and crew talk about what it was like to find and work in these incredible locations.
Bonus Features on Both the Blu-rayTM and DVD
- The Stars of Les Misérables: Director Tom Hooper talks about casting the iconic characters, and the actors discuss why it was important to them to be a part of this groundbreaking version of
- Creating the Perfect Paris: Production designer Eve Stewart created a massive Paris set featuring real cobblestones and running water. Take an intricate look into the detailed recreation of these Paris streets that no longer exist in today’s world.
- The Original Masterwork: Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables: This mini-documentary takes a look at the historical backdrop and universal themes of Hugo’s classic, and how the filmmakers mined the novel to enrich the look and feel of the film.
- Feature Commentary with Director Tom Hooper
Find your own copy of Les Miserables on DVD or Blu-Ray at retailers nationwide or online at retailers such as our affiliate Amazon. For more information about this groundbreaking film visit these sites the offical Les Miserables website and like them on Facebook!
Disclosure: I received sample for the purpose of this post however all thoughts remain 100% my own.