BEYOND THE BARRICADE: Hugh Jackman & Anne Hathaway Talk Head Shaving & Losing Weight
Christmas can't get here fast enough, because that's when LES MISERABLES hits the big screen. The movie, directed by Oscar winner Tom Hooper, features Hugh Jackman as 'Jean Valjean', Anne Hathaway as 'Fantine', Russell Crowe as 'Javert', Amanda Seyfried as 'Cosette,' Eddie Redmayne as 'Marius,' Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen as 'the Thenardiers.'
Stars of the film Jackman, Hathaway, Barks, Redmayne, and Seyfried chatted with the press about their experience, and in this edition Jackman and Hathaway cover the physical tranformations that they made for the film, and more! Check out the interview below:
You had an awesome performance, people say they didn’t even know it was you when it begins, and I think Anne said last Friday you had lost like 30 pounds to play this role. Did you have to torture yourself and how you saw this character, to present it to the world?
HJ: I’m so thrilled to hear someone say that and I want to pass it off to Tom because we talked from the beginning and it’s a very big part of the story. That this relationship Javert has with Valjean and they know each other right through the story. When they meet in the play it’s probably five minutes in when they meet nine years later. Javert has no idea who this guy is and it’s very clear the guy has taken a fake beard off and put on a grey wig!
As Tom says, we’ve had an opportunity for all the characters to show time, scale, all these things. He said ‘I want to make you unrecognizable’ and if people in your life aren’t saying maybe you’re sick, something’s wrong, what’s going on? We aren’t there yet.’ I did lose a lot of weight and then had the joy of putting weight on, which was a 30-pound journey from the beginning!
But, I have to say, all that pales in comparison to what this lady next to me did, because at least I had time to prepare and do that. Annie was doing it for 14 days and lost about 300 pounds, I think? [laughter] And I’ll just share a little story, I can talk too much, so shut me up. I had my hair cut off with the gashes in it and Annie had been talking about cutting her hair. And she came in for the consultation with Tom and she walked into the makeup room where I was sitting there with my head shaved and I saw the look on her face as she was talking to Tom, the reality dawning on her. As she was talking to Tom and her makeup artist--and if you watch the movie, her makeup artist/hair stylist is a man but obviously in the film is dressed up in a dress because you need an actual hair stylist to cut hair. So if you notice man hands in a dress…[laughter] So I remember Annie saying if you end up cutting my scalp and there’s blood--fantastic, let’s go for it. And Tom was standing behind, and I put up my hand and said “For the record, I would like makeup--fake scars, please.” [laughter]
Q: Can you talk a little bit about Jean Valjean and how you saw the character?
HJ: I see him--he’s obviously one of the great literary characters and I kind of see him as a real hero…quiet, humble, and I was talking, there’s been such a great reminder in the press today of the New York City cop who bought the shoes for the homeless man. Jean Valjean comes from a place of the greatest hardship that I can ever imagine, I don’t think any of us here could, and manages to transform himself from the inside. Obviously on film we wanted to show the outside changes as well but Hugo, he uses the word transfiguration. It’s even more than a transformation because he becomes more godlike, it’s a religious--it’s a spiritual change, it’s something that happens from within. And to me it’s one of the most beautiful journeys ever written and I didn’t take the responsibility of playing the role lightly. I think it’s one of the greatest opportunities I’ve ever had and if I’m a tenth of the man Jean Valjean is, I’ll be a very happy man.
I’m going to start with a disclaimer, this question comes from a ten year old girl. I actually have two, one very quick and obviously the answer is clear--”Glitter Girl” would like to know, did you really cut your hair and are you sorry? [laughter]
AH: First of all, Glitter Girl, where are you, you slacker? [laughter] I did cut my hair. I don’t feel sorry. I offered Tom the option of cutting my hair. It was always something that I kind of knew in the back of my mind that I’d be willing to do for a character if it was ever the right thing to do. And so when I got cast I read the script, and then I read the book and it’s such a devastating scene in the book, I thought doing it might raise the stakes a bit for the character. I guess in the back of my mind I thought: it was a painful experience watching her get her hair cut, and watching her teeth get pulled would be really painful. And then of course when she becomes a prostitute, I just thought--they’re going to be with her, alongside her and as an actor it was great to be able to authentically communicate that physical transformation.
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures