Les Misérables: 2012

Les Misérables is the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved global stage sensation seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the globe and still breaking box-office records everywhere in its 27th year. Helmed by The King’s Speech’s Academy Award®-winning director, Tom Hooper, the Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh production stars Hugh Jackman, Oscar® winner Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, with Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen. – http://www.lesmisfilm.com

The trailer looks fantastic and much better than the other films that have been produced on the Victor Hugo novel. It’s an instant winner in my book because it’s being made by the company that produced the musical.

When you look at the cast its full of stars including Jackman and Crowe, who most die-hard fans are probably thinking do they have the voice for their characters, as well as re-uniting Sacha Baron Cohen with Helen Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd) to become Miseur and Madame Thenardier. I was impressed with Cohen in Sweeney Todd as Alberto Pirelli and you can’t not love Bonham Carter.

I think my favourite selections are Samantha Barks, who played Eponine in the 25th Anniversary show in 2010, and came 3rd in the BBC’s “I’d Do Anything” show four years ago in the search to find a Nancy for Andrew Lloyd Webber in his musical Oliver! and Colm Wilkinson who was the original Jean Valjean, now playing the role of the Bishop. It’s also a bit of a step up for Eddie Redmayne, who I first saw in Pillars of the Earth, who’ll be playing Marius.

Do you hear the people sing lost in the valley of the night? It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light,

For the wretched of the earth there is a flame that never dies, even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise,

They will live in freedom in the garden of the lord,  hey will walk behind the plough-share, they will put away the sword, the chain will be broken and all men will have their reward,

Will you join in our crusade, who will be strong and stand with me? Somewhere beyond the barricade, is there a world you long to see?”

“Do you hear the people sing?

It’s absolutely crazy to think that this musical is nearly as old as I am and has had such a profound influence on my life. I can remember car journeys to visit relatives with either Les Mis, Miss Saigon and others playing through the tape deck,and for a time I’m sure it helped me learn a little bit of French. Not enough to be conversational but enough to sing Look Down in the native language aged 8 or 9.

I watched back the 25th Anniversary Show tonight as well and I took more away from the show the first time I listened to it, or even watched when it came out in 2010.

It’s one of the musicals I suppose propelled me into my affinity or interest with Drama and the performing arts – having auditioned once singing Empty Chairs at Empty Tables – because I think that you can’t not sing along with some of the numbers. With all the craziness that went over Susan Boyle singing I Dreamed a Dream it’s obvious people like the show (one only has to search how I met your mother confrontation on Youtube to see that, or Jason Manford stars) and has touched their lives, most even having a favourite character and who they’d like to play.

For me – it’s always been Enjorlas, the leader of the revolutionaries, because you need a strong powerful voice (which I probably thought I had back in my pre-teens) and you get a couple of good songs but there’s no major stress on you like there would be for Valjean or Javert. I knew I’d never play a character like Marius and the only other strong male lead character would be Thenardier, who I’d probably have fun with playing if I ever got the chance, but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big is there?


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