The First ‘Les Misérables’ Teaser Washes All My Fears Away

I cannot being to tell you how much I love Les Misérables. As far as I’m concerned it’s the best novel ever written, and it also inspired the greatest musical I’ve ever seen and listened to. When I heard Tom Hooper, the director of The King’s Speech, was going to be adapting the musical to the screen I had some serious concerns. The casting only furthered my concerns. Was Hooper going to go for celebrity and prestige over actual quality?

Since then I’ve come around a bit. The casting of Samantha Barks as Eponine went a long way, as did learning that Hooper was planning on recording as much of the singing as possible live on set. That’s a tricky thing to do, but if done right it can bring so much more depth and emotion to the performances even when the singing isn’t 100% note perfect.

Judging from this first trailer, that is exactly what Hooper has been able to accomplish. Anne Hathaway is a pretty great singer, but she’s no Lea Salonga or anything. But Hooper, by recording live and valuing the acting over the actual voice has coaxed true beauty out of his Fantine. Between the crushingly emotional rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, and the stunning, bleak visuals, I no longer have any serious reservations. Of course, it could end up not working, but in terms of my anticipation, all my worries are gone. Move over, Dark Knight Rises, I’ve got a new most anticipated movie of 2012: Les Misérables.

What are your thoughts on the trailer? Are you turned off by the more “actor-ly” singing style? Are you as excited as I am? Let me know in the comments.

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9 responses to The First ‘Les Misérables’ Teaser Washes All My Fears Away

  1. 

    The movie looks very pretty and potentially very interesting. “I Dreamed a Dream” sounds great until the emotional meat of the song kicks in and Hathaway can’t sing it. She sounds solid, she’s in tune, and she can clearly sing, but this show is full of incredibly difficult songs (that look surprisingly straightforward but are easy to misstep on. For example, almost every “On My Own” performance, particularly on TV, ever) and they require incredibly strong and versatile singers. I look forward to Jackman’s Val Jean tentatively (*love* his Curly!), but this Fantine is a definite disappointment and I hold out no hope for Crowe’s “Stars”. I doubt I’ll see this film when it comes out- it sounds like it’d cause too much frustration.

    • 

      I would have been worried about the singing ability, but what sold me was the visual of Hathaway. I’m pretty convinced that even if she doesn’t quite hit the heights expected of a more trained singer, the acting and the visuals will make up for it. The song almost seems more intimate than it would be on stage, and I like that method.

      As for Crowe, if there’s any worry left it’s to do with him, but I’ve been told that he has a surprisingly strong voice so I trust for now that Hooper will get him to pull it off. The live singing lessens my worry. I doubt they’d hire actors who couldn’t sing if they’re recording live.

      • 

        Well, they clearly did. Hathaway isn’t good enough. But this isn’t a surprise- the casting of Sweeney Todd was ridiculous for the same reason and this seems to be the way all movie musicals are going at this point. That’s one of the things I so appreciated with Once- they cast singers and helped them act better instead of actors they helped sing better.

        • 

          Sweeney Todd also did something stupid by casting Johnny Depp, who cannot sing at all, and then putting extra focus on those vocals by getting rid of the chorus. And the chorus was crucial to that musical in terms of lending it a dry satirical tone. What a failure of a film.

  2. 

    I thought Anne Hathaway was really good. I’m seeing it again and… I know I’m going to burst out into tears. She’s not the greatest vocalist ever (that’s Freddie Mercury) but I think she does a really good job with that song and knows what notes to hit.

    • 

      I actually just watched it again because I’m finally at home to watch it with the volume up. Her vocals may not be technically fantastic or anything, the the level of emoting is all there in a really intimate scale. The only thing holding me back from crying is the song being chopped up at some weird points.

  3. 

    Told ya that this movie was going to look good… can’t wait for more musical awesomeness…

    PS. still haven’t read/seen/heard the story of this thing ever before…

    • 

      Oh my! Well, I would recommend reading the book, or listening to the soundtrack, but actually, no. My first exposure to Les Mis was getting to see the musical in Toronto in some prime seats. It blew me away. But I think it helped in my case the the person I was with sort of did a run through of the entire plot beforehand. The songs are pretty easy to follow, but it’s sort of like an opera. No dialogue. All singing. And sometimes you sort of get lost in the song and aren’t paying as much attention to how the story is playing out, so that primer helped a lot.

      In this case, though, I think that being done on a cinematic level, it’ll probably be easier to follow the story. So here’s what I suggest. Wait for the movie. Don’t get primed, just watch the movie. Whether or not the movie is good, go back and read the book. It’s WELL worth your time despite being very long. Then after that or during that or whenever, get yourself a copy of the Les Mis 10th Anniversary Concert and listen to that. The movie will be great to watch, but for pure listening you won’t be able to beat that recording.

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