Les Misérables (2012) Poster


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Fantine's assault by a rejected customer is based on an actual incident from Victor Hugo's life that resulted in Fantine's creation: he was on his way to his editor's office when he encountered a young man harassing a prostitute. When she rejected his advances, he shoved a handful of snow down her dress and shoved her to the ground. When she defended herself with her fists, he immediately called the police to arrest his "assailant". Hugo was a minor celebrity at the time and spoke up on the woman's behalf when the police arrived and was able to have her set free. Hugo said he was horrified by the unfairness of the woman's situation and began to imagine that she might have children depending on her, and thus Fantine appeared in his mind.
Typically, the soundtrack for a movie musical is recorded several months in advance and the actors mime to playback during filming. However, on this film, every single song* was recorded live on set to capture the spontaneity of the performances. Everyone involved, from Hugh Jackman to Russell Crowe to producer Cameron Mackintosh, have praised this approach as it allowed them to concentrate on their acting as opposed to lip-syncing properly. They have also praised director Tom Hooper for attempting this on such a scale; something no director has ever done before. * One song (Look Down) set in the dock yard, did have to be pre- recorded as it was not possible to perform and record it live due to the amont of water and noise in the scene
Hugh Jackman lost considerable weight and went 36 hours without water, causing him to lose water weight around around his eyes and cheeks, giving him the gaunt appearance of a prisoner. He also grew a real scraggly beard for scenes of Valjean as a prisoner, though mercifully they were shot first in production and he could shave and return to his usual weight for scenes playing Valjean as a wealthy man. '
Recording the actors' singing live as they're acting may not be a first for this film, but the scope, and especially the manner in which it's being done, is: The actors wore ear pieces which fed the sound of a live piano being played off-stage, to keep their singing in key. The main novelty here is, there's no count-in or predetermined tempo and the piano is following the pacing of the actor, not the other way around - a first for a filmed musical. Orchestral music was added post-production.
Anne Hathaway reportedly blew everyone away at her audition, leaving them in tears.
Eddie Redmayne's audition was on his iPhone. He recorded himself singing in a trailer during a movie break in North Carolina.
While it seems odd, the "coffin" to which Fantine takes her first "john" is really the type of bed used by poorer people at that time. The raised sides helped to keep the sleeper warm. People who were better off either had bed curtains on all sides or slept in a small partition with curtains that could be closed to hold in the heat.
Due to the physical demands of daily singing, none of the cast was allowed alcohol. Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried both admitted it was a challenge to not be able to drink, and Crowe bought Seyfried a bottle of whiskey as a present after filming wrapped.
The first musical in ten years to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture since Chicago (2002).
Anne Hathaway refuses to discuss how she lost 25 pounds to play the dying Fantine, as she admits her methods were life threatening, and doesn't want to glamorize or promote her methods to young women. However, she has confirmed eating oatmeal paste as one of the reasons of her weight loss.
Amanda Seyfried also played young Cosette before, when she was 7 years old in a concert.
Despite reports of having the number to finished in one shot, Anne Hathaway confirmed in a interview that it took 8 hours to film "I Dreamed a Dream" because she wanted to get the scene deeper and more emotional. The fourth take made it in the final cut.
Helena Bonham Carter has played both Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) and Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables in film, paralleling actress Jenny Galloway, the original Madame Thenardier, who played both roles on Broadway.
This is the second adaptation of Les Misérables to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. The first was Les Misérables (1935).
Anne Hathaway actually cut her hair very short for this movie, in the scene where Fantine's hair is cut. . Her hairdresser was put in a dress to look like a woman.
According to an interview between Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, they agreed that Samantha Barks had weirdest vocal exercise; she would meow in different pitches and frequencies.
Alfie Boe auditioned for the role of Jean Valjean, having played the role for the 25th anniversary concert. He later claimed that his audition immediately preceded Hugh Jackman's, whom he saw waiting outside for his turn.
After many months of auditioning, Samantha Barks landed the role of Eponine, which she had previously played in the West End and in the 25th anniversary concert. Barks was performing in Oliver! in Manchester when, to her surprise, Cameron Mackintosh came on stage and announced that she had been cast. Barks later described it via Twitter as the "Most incredible moment of my life!!!!".
Anne Hathaway's first exposure to the role of Fantine was in 1987 when her mother, Kate McCauley Hathaway, played the role in the first U.S. tour of the musical.
Rowan Atkinson, Billy Crystal, Ricky Gervais, Steve Martin and Robin Williams were all at one point considered for Monsieur Thernandier.
In a running gag, Thénardier claims to love Cosette like his own daughter but can never quite remember her name correctly. He incorrectly calls her "Colette" several times, and also once calls her "Courgette." "Courgette" is the French word for "zucchini." Although not mentioned in the musical, in Victor Hugo's source novel explains that "Cosette" is in fact also not the girl's real name; her given name is "Euphrasie," and "Cosette" is a nickname that her mother gave her.
Coincidentally, Anne Hathaway sang with Hugh Jackman at the Academy Awards (twice). The second time, Hathaway was hosting and sang 'On My Own' to Jackman because Jackman refused to sing with her. Later, Jackman was cast in this movie and he suggested Hathaway as Fantine. She was later cast.
Amanda Seyfried said in an interview that it took over four months of auditioning to get the part of Cosette. She was entirely unaware of the other young women auditioning/ being considered for the role, but she was constantly told that she was "not right" for this musical/film. During the audition process, Seyfried was also singing/reading for the role of Fantine, and forced herself to get into vocal and physical shape for strong consideration for either one of the roles. When Anne Hathaway signed on as Fantine, Seyfried was given the role of Cosette.
Hayden Panettiere, Scarlett Johansson, Lea Michele, Emily Browning, Lucy Hale and Evan Rachel Wood auditioned for the role of Eponine, before it was rumored that Taylor Swift had been offered the role. In the end, Samantha Barks was cast.
Released 150 Years after Les Misérables was first published.
The film was going to be 4 hours long, with a 15-minute battle. But, it was shortened to 2 and a half hours. 15 minutes of the final film were cut out.
Helena Bonham Carter is a first cousin five times removed from French politician Achille Fould, a major rival of Victor Hugo due to Fould's support for Emperor Napoleon III, whom Hugo opposed.
Early in the movie, Fantine sings 'I Dreamed a Dream.' When Anne Hathaway accepted her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing Fantine, her first words were "It came true!"
In addition to the actors singing live, which allowed them to improvise their singing patterns, much of the movement was improvised as well. Particularly, Valjean's first solo, the Soliloquy, was filmed using a Steadicam and allowed Hugh Jackman to move as he saw fit in order to convey the heavy emotion of the scene.
Eddie Redmayne said that Tom Hooper shot the "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" scene about 15 times in a row.
Geoffrey Rush, who played the role of Javert in the non-musical Les Misérables (1998), was considered for the role of Monsieur Thenardier before Sacha Baron Cohen was cast.
The battle, along with other scenes, were filmed on the campus of the Old Royal Naval college in Greenwich, London, which is home to the University of Greenwich. Many students were used as extras in crowd and battle scenes.
According to Anne Hathaway in an interview, director Tom Hooper suggest that she try a take of her big song, "I Dreamed a Dream" in a coffin. But it was agreed by all involved that it looked too ridiculous.
Colm Wilkinson, playing the Bishop of Digne, originated the role of Jean Valjean in both the London and New York stage productions.
Years earlier Anne Hathaway had the chance to play the female lead in another Broadway musical film adaptation; that of Christine Daaé in director Joel Schumacher's The Phantom of the Opera (2004). She had to turn the role down as she was under contract with Disney to make the sequel to The Princess Diaries (2001).
An extended version of "Beggar at the Feast" was filmed but not included due to the length of time it took for filming. It included the Thenardiers frolicking with the wedding cake among other things.
Amy Adams, Jessica Biel, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Emily Blunt, and Rebecca Hall were considered to play Fantine, before Anne Hathaway was cast.
In the actual audition process, Eddie Redmayne started auditioning for Enjolras because director Tom Hooper "wanted a young 17-year-old" for the role of Marius.
Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried have both performed with Hugh Jackman at the Academy Awards, although separately.
The large, crumbling elephant statue that features prominently during several scenes in the movie was both a real statue in Paris (between 1813 and 1846) and a focus of vivid description by Victor Hugo in his novel Les Misérables. Known as "The Elephant of the Bastille," Napoléon Bonaparte originally intended the statue to be a bronze monument to his military achievements at the former site of the Bastille, but the design was only ever rendered in plaster and wood; by the time of its demolition in 1846, the statue had become a haven for vermin and was significantly degraded structurally. In the novel, Hugo describes it as an ugly, dilapidated, widely despised public eyesore.
The first and only time director Tom Hooper saw his Miz cast singing together was on the occasion of the 85th Academy Awards ceremonies (Dolby Theatre, Hollywood / 24 February 2013).
Warren Beatty, Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Gene Hackman, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, and Christopher Walken were all at one point in time during the film's years in production hell, considered for the role of Jean Valjean.
Composer Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyricists Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil wrote a new song exclusively for the film. Schönberg also composed new incidental music.
Many extras in the film are either West End stars or have been in various productions of the stage version of Les Misérables, including Kerry Townsend, Hadley Fraser, Katie Hall, Dianne Pilkington, Nancy Sullivan, Gina Beck, Robyn North, Fra Fee, Alistair Brammer, Killian Donnelly, Linzi Hateley, Caroline Sheen, Katy Secombe, Christopher Key, Gemma Wardle and Alexia Khadime.
The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne; and three Oscar nominees: Hugh Jackman, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Producer Cameron Mackintosh, who also produced the original stage musical in England, has wanted to do a film version of it since the early 90's.
Paul Bettany was considered for the role of Inspector Javert before Russell Crowe was cast.
Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen (The Thenardiers) have co-starred before in another musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).
Colm Wilkinson, who plays the Bishop that covers for Jean Valjean's thievery, is the original Jean Valjean from the first Les Miserables' stage production in 1985, in both London and on Broadway.
The character of Javert says his own name six times throughout the film.
The set for Diagon Alley from Harry Potter and The Sorcerers Stone was remodeled and used as the barricade scene
Jamie Campbell Bower was once rumored to play the role of Enjolras.
Emily Blunt's agent recommended her to audition for the film but Blunt declined. She would later go to star in another musical, Into the Woods
The Broadway production of 'Les Misérables' opened at the Broadway Theater on March 12, 1987 and ran for 6680 performances, making this production the third longest running show on Broadway (February 2013). In 1990 it transferred to the Imperial Theater. Les Misérables was nominated for thirteen 1987 Tony Awards, won eight Tony Awards (Best Musical, Best Featured Actor (Michael Maguire), Best Featured Actress (Frances Ruffelle), Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Score and Best Book.
Frances Ruffelle, the original Eponine on Broadway and in the West End, will be returning to Les Mis as a prostitute. When producer Cameron Mackintosh made the announcement, Ruffelle's character name was "The Most Fabulous Whore". Ruffelle also appeared in the 25th Anniversary Concert for Les Miserables taking the stage with the original London cast.
Tom Hooper admitted that the opening song "Look Down" contains some rerecorded singing, since the exterior setting and splashing water caused too much ambiance on the live recorded tracks.
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After Les Misérables (1935), this was the second adaptation of the novel to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.
This was Daniel Huttlestone's first movie.
Hugh Jackman bought a lottery ticket for all the extras that took part in Les Misérables to say thank you.
Jackie Marks has come full circle as 'Factory Woman'. She was in the original RSC production, creating the role of the factory girl, and was the first British Fantine taking over the role from Patti LuPone. She also recently played Madame Thenardier at the Queens Theatre in London.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
The 18th biggest grossing film of 2012.
All of the singing scenes were in fact performed live. The actors had an earpiece in which they could hear a faint piano version of the song so they could sing to it in time. Anne Hathaway did all of her own singing.
The 1998 film version of Les Misérables (1998) starred Liam Neeson. Neeson appeared with Russell Crowe in The Next Three Days (2010), Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and Amanda Seyfried in Chloe (2009).
Tom Hooper and cinematographer Danny Cohen, considered shooting the film in 70mm. However they abandoned the idea because the size and weight of 70mm cameras would have prevented the hand -held shooting style they planned for some scenes and also the particularly noisy camera motors would have been audible during the recording of the live singing of some of the songs (such as Fantine's I Dreamed a Dream etc.)
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Eddie Redmayne plays Marius, a role previously played in Les Misérables (1998) by Hans Matheson, his Tess of the D'Urbervilles (2008) costar.
The songs "Who Am I?" and "One Day More" have the same melody part for Jean Valjean.
This was Samantha Barks (Eponine's) first film. After playing the character in the west end show director Tom Hooper chose her for the film.
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To keep Hugh Jackman's morale up while repeatedly carrying Eddy Redmayne through the sewers on his shoulder, a fake, stenchless, face-cream mud like the type in a spa was used for the sludge, rather than real mud.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

During the "Master Of The House" song (at around 49 minutes), you can see the Thenardiers stealing someone's bags. They traded it for a basket with a baby. That baby is actually Gavroche, the Thenardiers' abandoned child. It is not stated in the musical but it is in the book. In an interview with director Tom Hooper, he stated it was a clue to see if someone knew who actually that baby was.
The medal that Javert affixes to the dead Gavroche is the Legion of Honour, the highest decoration in France. Director Tom Hooper claimed that the moment was Russell Crowe's idea, who wanted more foreshadowing to Javert's suicide.
Hugh Jackman claimed Jean Valjean's death scene was the most difficult to perform, since it was filmed on a freezing cold set at 1 in the morning, making it hard on his voice.
Gavroche is explained to be Éponine's younger brother in the novel. The Thenardiers also have another daughter Azelma and two younger unnamed sons.
During the filming of Valjean's death, Anne Hathaway had to duck under a camera to get to her next position next to Hugh Jackman as she sang "take my hand....". During an interview, Hathaway said that she had the idea of sliding under the camera to reduce the rustling of her dress. Instead, Hathaway had her foot caught and smacked straight to the ground. While Jackman kept a straight face, Hathaway tried to play it off though she was laughing during her singing bit. Hathaway also said that Seyfried and Redmayne were unaware of what happened and were only confused by her suppressed laughing/singing; Seyfried was whispering "what the f*ck" to Redmayne as they were embracing.
Despite prominent billing, Anne Hathaway only has 15 minutes of screentime and her character dies 43 minutes into the film.
Though cut from the theatrical edit, Anne Hathaway insisted that she perform a single stunt that involved Fantine's corpse being thrown from a window into a waiting cart. Director Tom Hooper and the producers had already hired a stunt woman and were hesitant to allow Anne to make the fall. Anne was able to convince them to let her perform the stunt when she stated, "Don't make me say it... guys, I'm Catwoman" (from The Dark Knight Rises (2012)).
Enjolras died in a similar position to the character in the stage show, hanging upside down. The main difference is that in the stage show he hangs from the barricade instead of out of a window.
The Bishop's appearance at the end of the movie is a nod to the novel, where, as Valjean is dying, he is asked if he wants a priest. He responds by pointing to a spot above his head and saying he has one, implying that the Bishop is bearing witness.
In the sewer scene, Thénardier says "Here's a pretty ring" before Jean Valjean wakes up and grabs him. This is a reference to the second verse in the corresponding song "Dog Eats Dog" from the musical, "Here's a tasty ring, pretty little thing..." This song was not included in the motion picture.
Some late filming was carried out in Bath, Somerset, in October 2012 where stunt shots for Javert's suicide scene had to be re-shot due to an error found with this footage during post-production.
Although it is never stated in the film, in the book it is know that the reason Marius knows Thénardier is because he lived next door to a man who called himself Jondrette. In the wedding scene, it is never clearly stated how Marius knows Thénardier, but it is because he recognizes Thérnardier as Jondrette.
Writing is partially visible on the barricade as Marius comforts a fatally wounded Éponine (A Little Fall of Rain). After Éponine dies, students carry her away, revealing the word "mort", death in French.
During a taking of the scene where Courfeyrac picks up dead Gavroche, Fra actually dropped Daniel and before his head could hit the ground Fra's hand caught Daniel's head as it hit. Daniel ended up crying and Fra admitted that he felt terrible after that and was scared it was going to happen again.
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