Les Miserables is one of two upcoming films (the other: Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained) that have been swarmed with Oscar buzz before they open in theaters December 25. Flattered yet carefully reserved about how the buzz can easily result in a sting, Les Mis' stars discussed the overwhelming hype from the critics.
Hugh Jackman--who plays the musical film's main character, "Jean Valjean"--said that while the Oscar buzz doesn't mean much to him personally unless it becomes realized, he's excited at the notion of what an Oscar would do for the musical genre.
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"I'm really happy to be in the film and I think Tom (Hooper, director) has done an amazing job, and I know the film moves people," said Jackman, who recently ended a stint on Broadway. "Movie musicals are really hard to get made in Hollywood. It's a huge risk; they're expensive; they often don't work; and when they're bad, they stink to high heavens. I'm a lover of musical theater and I hope movie musicals get made more often, so if there is recognition for the movie--fantastic."
The musical film is based on a long-running musical of the same name, which is based on French author Victor Hugo's 1862 novel of the same title (translates as The Poor Ones, The Unfortunate, or simply, The Miserable), which focuses on life in France in the early 19th century. Anne Hathaway ("Fantine") plays one of the miserables, a poor factory worker.
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"It's flattering. I'd be lying if I didn't say it doesn't thrill me that people are predicting this," Hathaway said of the Oscar buzz. "However, I've also have been doing this long enough to know that nothing's set in stone...So, I'm just really enjoying people's reaction to the film. It's so gratifying to have tried something new...and to hear that people are responding to it."
The new aspect to which Hathaway referred is the film's decision to have the cast sing the songs live during each take on the set rather than lip sync to a prior recording performed in a studio. While it was challenging for the actors to belt out the film's ballads take after take, Hathaway maintains that it was a liberating experience.
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"I think it gave us all a sense of freedom and ability to invent in the moment," she said, elaborating that dense emotions can't be replicated with lip-syncing.
Les Miserables is in theaters December 25.