Entertainment

Cast of 'Les Miserables' talks about singing

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The goal was to make a film as innovative as the original musical was when it first debuted. It's movie that is sung rather than spoken.

Anne Hathaway makes the dream come alive with a performance of this familiar tune so good it makes you forget all the others that have come before.

That's in part that's because she sang it live in one continuous take.

"It changed everything for all of us. It required a skill set that none of us had previously had, that we had to develop. For me, it was so exciting to be able to feel the emotion in the moment, harness it, and ride it out for a single take I loved it," Anne Hathaway said.

This is not the way movie musicals are usually made.

"Singing live on set was the greatest gift Tom Hooper, the director, could have ever given me because it allowed us to be spontaneous, to be free. And to be very clear we had in our ears a little earpiece where we were hearing the music," Hugh Jackman said.

The music came from a nearby piano player.

"So there was a real feeling of like an opening night and a closing night of the theater all at once and it made it so vital and exciting to perform," Jackman said.

Normally the tracks are pre-recorded before filming even begins and the performers try to lip-sync to music they made months before.

"I mean I wasn't singing on Mama Mia the whole time, I was just singing for a little while recording then it being done," Amanda Seyfried said.

On "Les Misérables" there was no faking it.

"I didn't drink alcohol and barely had coffee. I slept as much as I could and I didn't really go out to dinner. It was really living like a monk but it was worth it," Seyfried said.

Singing live in this way has been done before but very rarely.

The antics of Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman were captured live and Frank Sinatra sang live with Eddie Hodges to help the youngster get over his nerves in "A Hole in the Head". But never before has so much singing been done so spontaneously.

"Day one was as challenging as day last. To have that much opportunity it couldn't possibly ever come without a small bit of anxiety as to how it's going to turn out. But we had an amazing director and a lot of faith in each other. At any moment that I felt 'Oh I don't know if I can do this' I would look up and I would say but Hugh Jackman is doing it so it's possible," Hathaway said.

Jackman has plenty of stage experience and just last year at this time he was appearing on Broadway in his own one man show, but this was such a big job he feared that he wouldn't be up to the task.

His wife encouraged him to try and now he could get an Oscar nomination for his acting and his singing.

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Please visit Sandy Kenyon's blog for more entertainment news at wabc.typepad.com/whatsandysays

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