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Friday
Nov232012

I Dreamed a Dream That The Film Version of Les Miz Would Be Awesome.

It came true.

Tom Hooper, looking very confident, took the stage at Alice Tully this afternoon to welcome everyone to the screening with a Happy Thanksgiving and a confession that he had finished the film at 2:00 AM in time for today's all guild screenings, the very first! If we were sitting there "It must mean I've finished it," he quipped.

Though reviews are embargoed until December 11th, let it suffice to say (for now) that my fears about the film adaptation of the classic musical were alleviated quickly. MORE...

By the end of Jean Valjean's lengthy prologue with Hugh Jackman lending a thrilling haunted immediacy to "Valjean's Soliloquy" / "What Have I Done?" my eyes were watering and I had chills everywhere. The audience at Alice Tully Hall was similarly elated with spontaneous applause breaking out right then. The applause just kept coming at the end of each famous tune throughout the nearly three hour running time. A standing ovation greeted Hooper and four of his stars (Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks and Amanda Seyfried) when they walked out on stage as the final credits rolled.

Yes, my photo of the cast taking their seats is blurry and useless... but I was shaking and crying. Don't judge! I blame Les Miz's overpowering finale which intended to put me in this very state of blubbery incompetence. 

During the Q & A the director and cast and the audience spent a lot of time (too much time) on the already famous live-singing technique. All the vocals were recorded on set, the cast using earpieces to hear piano accompaniment. The pianos were then edited out and full orchestration was recorded to be added around the vocals in post. More impressive still is that many of the numbers have very little editing meaning the actors sang the entire numbers without breaks for camera setup changes -- which is most noticeable in Fantine's "I Dreamed a Dream" as Hathaway digs deep and delivers sensationally. 

Though the bulk of the afternoon was comments from Hooper and Hathaway, each actor responded to some questions: Amanda Seyfried had the audience laughing with self-deprecating comments about her lack of preparation and relief when she didn't have to sing anymore; Samantha Barks talked about her years with the role of Eponine and the big transition being that she no longer had to play to the back row on film; Eddie Redmayne was the most lively partipicant telling multiple funny anecdotes. The best of these was his fear of working with both Wolverine and the Gladiator and the great leveler of vocal exercizes; the whole cast would be walking around making absurd noises to loosen up their instruments.

The cutest question from the crowd was a man who asked Anne if she had already cleared space on her shelf for the Oscar. The audience -- filled with AMPAS and guild members -- applauded his question. Anne didn't have to answer. But then, it's not really a question anymore. 

She won't be the only member of this team who has to make room for one.

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Reader Comments (36)

yayyyy lincoln vs. Les mis

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbill

can Jackman steal DDL's thunder and slow his inevitable win?

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

So are you fully on board with the prospect of Anne winning the best actress in a supporting role award? I mean, i guess you made it kind of obvious from your post, but I want you to reinstate the fact. Yes, maybe, no? Does she have any obstacles or is she gonna march effortlessly to the Oscar stage come February 24?

And who else are you thinking will win any awards from Les Miz?

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJones

ps. I have to say I'm very happy for Anne. This has been a great year for her.

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJones

And I really want to hate Tom Hooper- this is awful!

I'm imagining it has the sound categories wrapped up anyway.

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSVG

can Jackman steal DDL's thunder and slow his inevitable win?

Day-Lewis not inevitable Best Actor winner. Washington and others won't leave the season empty handed from awards bodies. Especially in Washington's case since he's never won SAG and Day-Lewis has two.

+<>+

I'm enthused for Hathaway. Tom Hooper now has the block on lock. I guess PTA may settle for Original Screenplay.

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Since I know you're not a big fan of him, what did you think of Russell Crowe here?

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

I could have sworn I saw someone say something recently about how depressing it is that people always wanna declare Oscar winners BEFORE the nominations even. I forget where I saw that, though.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJ.P.

It is a great relief, really! I *WANT* so to love this film; to cry my eyes out as I did when I saw the play on Broadway, and then again in Buenos Aires, and then again when I watched the Anniversary special performance and then again when I watched the trailers and featurettes!
I hope you'll add to your initial comments, Nat! C'mon! We want more! You have the questions above from fellow TFE followers to get you started!

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

reading this put me over the moon. so excited! can't wait :)

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyanSt

Watch out "Lincoln"! "Les Miz" is planning to snatch some wigs in February (literally, in "Lincoln"'s case). Get that Oscar, Annie! That might make me happier than any other win next year. Yes, I'm going to stan hard for my girl all season long, so be warned in advance.

But my god, Tom Hooper again in best director? 2 in 3 years? Tell me the Academy won't subject us to that BS again, right?

UGH.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulian

Such great news! I hope I'll love it too.
Was Redmayne's version of Empty Chairs at least very good?

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

Do they sing every single line of dialogue? I truly, deeply HATE that. I'm sorry, I know I'm in the minority but I can not stand it.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

!!! I'm so excited for this! More excited to see this on Christmas day than opening presents.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

J.P. -- lol. you got me! apologies. I was caught up in that les miz fever.

November 24, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

sad man -- this is extremely faithful as transfers go. So, yes, it's a "sung through" musical.

November 24, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I am so glad to read this and see the tweets. Universal is screening for the Chicago critics this coming Wednesday, so my partner and I are very excited to see this a month ahead of time. I can not wait.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

So excited to hear good things about the film! Was my beloved Aaron Tveit around, and did he get any questions?

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Glad you enjoyed it, to be honest Anne doesn't need an Oscar. People like Kerry Washington and Emayatzy Corealdi (Middle of Nowhere) need Oscars. Anne will get roles based on her name. It just makes me sad. Emayatzy deserves to be talked about and predicted; her performance was great in Middle of Nowhere.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I do hope this revives some good will for Tom Hooper who I've always thought was talented, and unfortunately got cast in the role of "undeserving hack" two years ago when he made a perfectly nice film that just happened to be not quite as good as the film it beat at the Oscars.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert A.

@Melissa - I loved Middle and Emayatzy in it. Fantastic film that announces huge talents in Emayatzy and Ava DuVernay

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

@murtada,

Yeah I saw it last week, but it makes me sad. Because when I looked at Emayatzy's upcoming roles there's like nothing. I don't mean to derail this thread, but people like Nicole Kidman, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams (one of my faves) don't need Oscars to advance their careers. It's just so hard following the careers of minority actresses.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Hooper has the block on lock?

What does this mean?

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermed

How is Helena? Any chance she is the other nominated actress in supporting, instead of Barks or Seyfried?

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Thank you med. I'm 30 years old and yet I said something that any "young person" would understand. I'm saying that Hooper's certain in securing his position in the best director's category over presumed a front-runner like Ben Affleck. Block meaning his category — Lock certainly secured for a nomination and possibly a 2nd win.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

John T -- Aaron Tveit did not attend, no. sorry.

med -- if it means anything to you i didn't know what "block on lock" meant either.

cal -- she's funny in it but i'm guessing Anne is too dominant for others to rise up in her movie ... especially since there are so many of them :) Les Miz always has been and stilll is very very crowded.

November 24, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I think Jackman may benefit from a terrific film. He will probably steal SAG and go on to win the Oscar. DDL winning a third and eclipsing Jack Nicholson is a tall order and I don't think it will happen. Meryl knows how difficult winning a third Oscar is. Streep winning a 4th may be easier that her third win.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermed

If LES MIZ as incredible as you and everybody who's seen it has mentioned, I think I may forgive Tom Hooper for his awards reign for THE KING'S SPEECH

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkent

I only know "Block On Lock" as the chorus to Erykah Badu's 'Danger' (circa about 10 years ago). Still don't have a clue what it means...

I'm intrigued by this - still amused that with Samantha Barks, the UK has a (very long) shot at getting its own Jennifer Hudson... except without the battiest part in her film...

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKermit The Frog

Nathaniel,
WOW WOW WOW
i've never seen the stage show, came close. but you know my love for Hugh Jackman.
After reading your post, i'm beyond beyond excited to see Les Mis and beyond hoping the cast and crew win awards galore.

Jazz

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjazz

If the 'Les Miz' hype lives up to its apparent impressive start, I can totally see the academy going for a Les Miz best Picture Oscar and a Spielberg best Director statuette (giving 2 awards to Hooper in 3 years when Spielberg himself has only 2 would be an outrage!)

November 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

Love to hear the positive press for "Les Miz," though I do want to hear from some real critics about the worth of this film beyond the blogosphere/"entertainment journalists" who would be predisposed to love this kind of film from the get go (and why shouldn't they, since they're the privileged anointed ones that get to see this a full month ahead of the rest of the world). Everyone's talking about Anne Hathaway (can't wait to see her version of Fantine), but where's the other supporting actress slot coming from? Samantha Barks, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter? Is Eddie Redmayne going to upset Russell Crowe in supporting actor? Can Hugh Jackman topple Daniel Day-Lewis? Would the Academy dare have Tom Hooper win again over the great Steven Spielberg? So many questions, so few answers!

November 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

Taken as a guest by my sister to the editors' guild screening in LA on Saturday. The two of us could have used a box of Kleenex but sweatshirtsleeves had to suffice. Jackman & Hathaway both could not have been any better in their roles. But judging individual numbers and their effect, 'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables' sung amazingly by Eddie Redmayne in severe close-up had us blubbering from the first line. (I always relate to that song from the viewpoint of a gay male baby boomer having survived the plague until now but having lost more friends than I ever could replace in my life.) The comic relief provided by Sacha Baron Cohen & Helena Bonham Carter was delightful and a nice homage to Sondheim. And to our delight, but perhaps some other readers' dismay, the film is virtually entirely sung through - no banal scenes of dialogue interrupted the opera-like flow of the score.

November 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrMikey

And I need to add that the most attractive male as well as the best singing voice awards go to Aaron Tveit as Enjolras!

November 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrMikey

I cannot wait to see this, and frankly, I don't care what the critics say. I give much more stock to what a Les Mis The Musical superfan and lover of film like you thought of it. So the fact that you thought so highly of it makes me breathe a sigh of relief and feel even more excited to see it! Here's to hoping Hugh Jackman gets his due!

November 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I must know...how was Russell Crowe?

November 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

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