Les Misérables: The musical reimagined

Katie Cresser, Staff Writer

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Tom Hooper’s rendition of Les Misérables premieres on Christmas Day. This great story, which was first written as a novel by Victor Hugo, has been adopted for the stage and silver screen dozens of times, but never like this.

While there have been numerous attempts to transfer the success of the musical to the big screen, all previous adaptations have failed in one area: conveying the raw emotion felt during a live performance. The fatal flaw in these features has always been the pre-recorded musical aspects of the story. As is usual in Hollywood, the actors would record their various musical parts in a studio months before filming and sometimes before meeting their fellow cast members.

In order to combat this lack of emotion, director Tom Hooper (the creative genius behind the award-winning film The King’s Speech) ordered that all songs be sung live with piano accompaniment. Later, musical technicians added in the score performed by a full orchestra. This revolutionary approach allows the actors to change the way they sing their parts as they discover their characters.

The film offers something for everyone: the excitement of romance, the danger of revolution, and the tear-jerking feeling of loss and tragedy. It also boasts a star-studded cast including Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sasha Baron Cohen. The talented array of stars underwent almost a year of vocal training to prepare for their demanding roles. No expense was spared during filming. The camera crew even wore costumes in case they appeared in a shot, and real, rotting seafood was used as a prop.

With this much attention to detail, it’s certain that this rendition of Les Mis will be a unique movie-going experience.

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