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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd


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Dreamworks Animation Pt 2: The Fall

"I loved this article. It reads like vintage EW, back when they relished the behind-the-scenes stories of Hollywood and the studios." -John T

"Dreamworks should not have oversaturated the animation market. Home is Dreamworks 31st animated film. Do you know what is Walt Disney Animation's 31st film? Aladdin. It took Disney over 5 decades to get there." -Chinoiserie

Part 1 here if you missed it



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Entries in Les Misérables (56)


Do you hear the people sing?

Provided you have speakers on your computer, then yes. Hear them you do. Well not Hugh and Anne specifically...

I know I shouldn't be this excited for a movie. It will all end in tears!


April Foolish Predictions: The Supporting Categories

Nowhere is the "April Foolish" descriptive more appropriate than in the Supporting Categories. They're generally the last major categories to clear up in each Oscar race since so much rides on the success of a film and/or its leading players. Coattails are often required even if the performance is great all by its lonesome. Witness the sad fate of Vanessa Redgrave's Coriolanus performance in the last race. She was easily the greatest but barely any awards group noticed since reviews for the film were lukewarm and it was barely released at that.

Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp are old married in "Song for Marion"

Redgrave might be in play again this year, though, with a warmer title role in Song For Marion. The last time she was in the Oscar race (20 years ago) she was playing a dying woman who worked as a catalyst for the protagonist's emotional journey and the same is probably true here in this film about her husband (Terence Stamp) who joins the church choir to please her. The supporting categories are often home to heartwarmers like that and they're much kinder to senior actors as well so the cast of Quartet (Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins) Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut about retired opera singers, might win kudos too.

If Oscar wants to lean darker -- they love villains in both of the supporting categories -- they might latch on to the sure to be controversial Django Unchained but it's worth noting that Pulp Fiction is the only Quentin Tarantino film that has managed multiple acting nominations. So it's anyone's guess as to who will be named "best in show" this time out but my money is currently on the villain (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his captive (Kerry Washington

Crowded Films
We can't possibly know this early on who the standouts will be in various crowded films but we can guess. Ben Affleck's Argo, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty, and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln might be key films to watch for the Supporting Actor category since they all involve dangerous military operations and the cast lists are deep. Les Misérables will undoubtedly be the film that will spark the most early discussion about the Supporting Actress category since Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks and Helena Bonham-Carter will all have key moments they can own.

Can David O. Russell get two of his supporting ladies nominated again? The Silver Linings Playbook has Jacki Weaver and Jennifer Lawrence

Double Dipping?
Oscar has really gone crazy for doubling up in Supporting Actress this past decade. It just keeps happening that two actresses are nominated from the same film. Two more films which might be in play for the ol' twice over are Hyde Park on Hudson (The Olivias, Williams and Colman) and David O. Russell's The Silver Lining Playbook (with previous nominees Jennifer Lawrence and Jacki Weaver)

Can all those "Rampart" raves, help Woody Harrelson in his next role as a dog-loving mobster?
The April Foolish Predictions...

See where they rank: Amy Adams, Redgrave, The Bening, JLaw hot off Hunger Games, Mary Todd "Sally" Lincoln, Nicole Kidman, The Olivias and the Les Mis girls.

See where they rank: All those men still waiting for a win like Leo, Woody & Joaquin, plus previous winners Lee Jones, Waltz, and many more.

Naturally you'll want to sound off on all the wonderful possibilities. Which performances do you have warm fuzzy hunches about? Which performances do you think I'm overestimating?



"Who am I... Who am I"

24601 !!!!!!! ♫ "

That's Hugh Jackman in character as Jean Valjean on the set of Les Misérables. The most epic musical made in some time hits the screen in just 268 days. Good luck to Tom Hooper and cast. Please let this be great. The stage show deserves it.


A Heart Full of Uh-Oh... Taylor Swift for "Les Misérables"

Last night while innocently checking Facebook, a reader forced me -- literally forced me -- to read unpleasant news, reaching through the screen, yanking my eyeballs out and plopping them right down on this news that Taylor Swift was joining the cast of Tom Hooper's Les Miserables as Eponine.

I said "Don't make me think about THAT!!!". I mean, I'd just shared my top ten list so I was still hooked up to an IV joy drip and he wanted me to focus on THAT. I couldn't do it! THAT would have to wait until tomorrow, I said.

But here we are in tomorrow and THAT is still whatever it is. So let's recap what's going on with the casting of the most important movie musical in the pipeline.

The Three Roles The Whole Thing Rests On
Jean Valjean.......................... Hugh Jackman
Inspector Javert .................... Russell Crowe
Fantine ................................  Anne Hathaway

We know that Jackman and Hathaway have spectacular golden age quality movie musical voices and that all three of these movie stars can really act. That's a crucial thing since Les Misérables is actually an epic weepie and not the more commonly seen musical comedy. If "Bring Him Home" (Valjean) and "I Dreamed a Dream" (Fantine) don't ruin you emotionally, Les Miz will lose 87% of its dramatic potency.

Crowe? Have we heard him sing outside of rock music? Hooper is supposedly NOT doing this musical in the typical way of pre-recording and then lipsynching / acting later on. Instead, or so we hear though it sounds complicated given the chaotic milieu of the story, that the actors will actually be singing while they act. This might make for an electric movie experience (I mean the source material is already great) but who knows.

the rest of the cast after the jump


Click to read more ...


I Googled "Les Miz Songs" For A Title To This Post

... so pretend it's called "I Dreamed A Dream... of Music!" or something thereabouts. Be creative, in the wake of my early morning total lack thereof. JA from MNPP here. As I made horrifically clear to everyone back when we played “Make Me Watch A Musical” a couple of years ago, I have… well, it’s more than a blind spot, more like a black hole when it comes to movie musicals. It’s been awhile since then and I haven’t much improved my standing with the genre, either. I’ve seen several of the Busby Berkley musicals and I really enjoyed them (Team Blondell! Ruby Keeler can suck an egg!), but then I suffered though – suffered being the operative word – Funny Girl to see who this Barbra Streisand character everybody talks about is all about and wow, not for me! I say this not to offend you Barbolytes (Streisfans? Babsilonians?) but to make it clear how Byzantine my pathologies towards the genre are. There’s no rhyme or reason. 

Which is why I find myself writing this post today. A couple of years ago, Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway lit up the stage at the Oscars, and me along with most of the rest of you lit up alongside it. What a hoot! And now they’re reuniting to make a musical, which is totally something I would watch.  They have charisma that captivates me. The musical is Les Misérables, to be exact. My familiarity with Les Miz can be summed up by this post here. That’s the honest truth. Totally clueless. I’ve never even read Hugo’s book. The French Revolution is involved? Maybe somebody steals some bread? I don't know.

So I want a lesson. I’m asking you musical lovers to tell me what I need to know going into this. Gimme "The Gospel of Les Miz According To TFE Readers." How right or wrong is Hugh Jackman for the part he’s playing? How about Russell Crowe? And lovely Anne, can she be a Fantine, whatever the hell that is? Who could you see playing the parts better? And what about all the other roles, who would you cast? What are they going to have to do to adapt the source into a successful movie? I don’t know! I am asking you!


Hugh Jackman May Finally Sing On Screen. (Plus: Paul Bettany!)

If I know The Film Experience crowd you've already heard that Hugh Jackman is in talks to star in Tom Hooper's screen adapation of Les Miserables, affectionately known all over God's green earth (that show has travelled everywhere) as "Les Miz". I personally couldn't be more thrilled since Jackman as song & dance man is my all time favorite Jackman. Since I love all the other incarnations of Jackman with great muchness that is saying a hell of a lot.

(I will never ever ever forget or regret seeing him on the boards in The Boy From Oz... and the show wasn't even good!)

You may recall that we did a "Cast This" awhile back and Hugh Jackman was the favorite choice for starring in the comments. My greatest desire IF they secure Jackman --  who has been so ready to sing onscreen that he even supposedly did it in Chinese in his cameo in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (opening soon) -- that the studio won't feel they have to have huge stars in every role and will cast according to actual vocal/acting gifts. Les Miz is not "pop" music. You can't have a pleasant voice with tiny range and merely be able to carry a tune. You've got to be able to carry epic melodrama in your voice.

Les Miz is a beast of a property and will be terrifically hard to pull off but it COULD make a great film. Especially if they cast well and cast for the roles andvoices and not from fear and bet-hedging. It's a long long way until a first trailer (ha!) but IF when it arrives, Hollywood is trying to pretend that it ISN'T a musical,  as so many modern musicals have done (despite notable box office successes in the genre in the past decade), than we'll know they blew it and the studio is nervous. But for now, I'm trying to stay optimistic. Hugh Jackman would sure help boost the possibility that it will be a great film version.

Good luck Tom Hooper. You'll need it.

Paul Bettany has read and sung for the part of "Javert"


Cast This! "Les Miz" For the Big Screen

In the annals of "the movie business is SO weird" and "Hollywood is terrified of musicals" few things beat the case of the 1998 film version of Victor Hugo's French revolution classic Les Miserables. Despite being moved into production during the 90s when the British mega-musical of the same name was well into its record breaking stage run, Hollywood thought it time to revive the book, which had been filmed many times before, but not as an adaptation of the ginormously popular musical.

Hollywood is currently repeating this dunderheaded mistake with umpteen Wizard of Oz projects in development that ARE NOT Wicked the musical, which is so popular that it has been already earned more than half a billion dollars at the box office.

What is wrong with Hollywood?

So back to Les Miz. Admittedly we tend to travel in packs with people who share our interests but I didn't meet one person around the late 1990s who didn't say "Why isn't it the musical?" with a genuinely confused look on their face. Everybody was into that musical. It was as popular as Cats and Phantom of the Opera the two other pop culture musical phenomenons of the 80s. I also didn't meet one person who was eager to buy a ticket the movie without the songs.

So Uma Thurman played Fantine but didn't get to belt out power ballad classic "I Dreamed a Dream", Claire Danes played the pitiable orphaned Cosette but didn't get that wonderful crosscut romantic triangle "A Heart Full of Love",  Liam Neeson played Valjean but didn't get that 11th hour manly weep-a-thon "Bring Him Home". Etcetera.

Fantine (UMA) Dies From Musical Malnourishment

Word is that Tom Hooper may be directing the first film version of this musical as his follow up to The King's Speech. Honestly, if he pulls this off, we'll pretend that this year's Oscars never happened and stop being angry on behalf of David Fincher.

Les Miz is perfect for big screen. Let's talk why and cast the characters after the jump.

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