BEYOND THE BARRICADE: LES MIS Film Cast Talks Laughter & Bonding on Set
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 they cover bonding over musical theatre, supporting eachother on set, and more! Check out the interview below:
Tom and the producers had talked about the camaraderie among the cast, and the community that obviously you need to do this musical. I was wondering if you guys did anything to commemorate it, like if you got tattoos or something…?
AH: Honestly I think the person that was the beginning of the kind of glue isn’t even here unfortunately, and that was Russell. You cannot underestimate Russell’s contribution and influence on this cast--he was the first to say hey, we should come to my house Friday night, my voice teacher’s going to play piano and we can have a couple of drinks and we’ll sing. That was such a key part of the process because after that point we’re in rehearsals with each other, we’re very serious, we spend all day crying, but in between I don’t think we had gotten to the point where we saw a song as a way of communicating. I think we thought, this is what we have to do, this is a technical thing w have to accomplisH. Russell let us approach it from a completely different kind of perspective which is--this is the way we are going to communicate, this is the language we speak about our shared experiences. I know for me, and I can’t speak for everyone, but it made me so much more invested in the totality of the film and being the small part of the film that I am, I could easily have just gone home and forgotten about it. But I cared so much when I left, I wanted to know how did “On My Own” go, “In My Life”--how did that turn out? And I think it really cemented the bond between us.
SB: We’re so passionate about music and that’s why it was so exciting for us, that’s what linked us all together, was that passion. This is my first film but there was something new about this to all of us, and there’s this link that bonded us all together, which was our shared passion for music. We sang a duet from Rent, we sang the Adele song backward and forward, and it made us all so comfortable together, we were just like--singing in a group of people, no one’s judging you, we were kind of just like you said communicating and sharing that bond of music, it was very cool.
Which one was Joanne and which one was Mimi?
SB: I was Maureen.
AH: I was Joanne.
ER: The process felt so new, the extraordinary thing about this project was that none of use were jaded doing it, it was this wonderful mixture of the theater world and the film world meeting together on a process that felt unique and original to all of us. None of us knew the right answer, and so what was the most leveling and bonding thing for all of us, I thought, was that from Day One we’d all gone through an incredibly rigorous audition process to get the parts, and when we arrived that day, I thought--Eddie, how are you going to do that? [laughter] Literally asking each other for advice and never feeling like we found the answer and aspiring to do as best as we can, because we are fans ourselves.
AH: Sorry, not to answer twice but I also think it cannot be understated--we’re all massive Les Miz freaks. I mean like from before, we’re all slightly worried that this is not really happening, that we’re all on some kind of strange odd mutual trip, and we’re hallucinating. [laughter] But, we’re all such fans of it and we all showed up on the first day with such enormous gratitude as you say, that the responsibility of telling the story was entrusted to us. It was great to share stories--when was the first time you saw it? Who did you want to be at first? Eddie--I think he’s still envious of Dan, the kid who got to play Gavroche.
ER: Genuinely envious. I wasted the entire film thinking Oh God. [laughter] I watched the film and he was so brilliant, as was Isabelle who was so effortless and wonderful. My inner seven-year-old started hopping.
AS: Izzy actually gets to go back on stage.
AH: I’m her mother and I didn’t even know that!
HJ: I remember one of the first days I was filming, I was singing the ‘soliloquy’ that first number in the church and I remember we were down in the church, the most beautiful place, a real old church in London. I came up the steps, those winding stone steps and Annie was at the top there and she just came over and she had tears in her eyes and she was hugging me and she goes “I’m not going to miss this for the world!” We were all feeling that. I’ve never known that on a film before. We were all there for each other. It had the feeling of the closest stage show that I’ve ever been involved in but it was a film, which is unusual. Yeah, we’ll be bonded for life.
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures