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Hugh Jackman Talks Singing Live In Les Mis Movie & Turning Into Jean Valjean

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesFilm FlickersHugh Jackman


After breaking records with his one man show on Broadway, Hugh Jackman is looking forward to his next project: the film version of the musical Les Miserable.

Now, if you ask anyone who loves themselves a Broadway musical, they will tell you that this is the movie everyone has been waiting for ever since the show went up at the Broadway Theatre in 1987. The big thrill in particular for this project is the cast being boasted for the key roles. Hugh especially has been cleverly chosen to star as the leas, Jean Valjean, and in a new interview, he explains some very interesting information about the movie, including the fact that the cast will be singing LIVE during filming, not miming a pre-recorded track.

Here are the HIGHlights from his interview:

You’re starting rehearsals for the movie adaptation of Les Miz later this month. I read that there are going to be no prerecorded songs — that you’ll be singing live on the set. Is that true?
Yes, I believe we are going to be singing live. We will obviously have to do a safety prerecord, because when you’re singing you’ve got to have all the music in your ear, and I’m guessing also for quality of sound for the soundtrack. And sometimes when you film there are noises — smoke machines, things like that — where the actual sound on set may not be usable. But most of it we’re going to be singing live, which for something like Les Miserables is essential. You don’t want it to feel like it’s all done in a recording studio, nor do you want it to look like the actors are miming the whole thing. I wouldn’t know how to do that. I think it would take more work to mime it than to sing it.

Les Miz is such a beloved show. Does that add pressure? Or make you more motivated?
More motivated. I auditioned. I went hard for the part. I wasn’t sitting back waiting for this one. This is one I really wanted. I feel, weirdly, that all the things in my life — particularly my professional life, which has been close to twenty years — have been converging to this point. I feel very lucky and blessed to have been in movies, and I feel lucky and blessed to have been in musicals. I’ve been waiting a long time to combine the two, and to be able to do it with something like Les Miserables, it just feels like a pinnacle.

Do you remember the first time you saw Les Miz?
Yes, I saw it in Australia for the first time, actually. A mate of mine was in it and I was completely blown away. I’ve seen it three times now, not including the PBS specials. Actually, the very first song I used as an audition piece was “Stars” from Javert. It wasn’t right for the musical — I was auditioning for Beauty and the Beast so they were like, “Why are you singing ‘Stars’?” But I was coming out of acting school and my acting teacher had made me sing that one song, so it was the only thing I had music to.

What about the physical transformation? Jean Valjean changes so much during the show.
Well, it’s an eighteen-year span, so he’ll go through a transformation during the film, but when we start he is in a labor camp. He’s described as a “great ox of a man,” so as [director] Tom [Hooper] says, “I don’t want pecks, I don’t want you to look like you’ve been to the gym, I want you to look like you’ve been hauling ropes to get ships into the shipyard.” I’m literally starting training in a half-hour. I’m about to go into a whole lot of squats and pulling ropes and pulling myself up ropes. At the same time, I don’t get to eat any fun stuff because he wants me to be lean in the face like I’ve been in a labor camp. But then he gets rich and goes to pot, so that part will be fun.

We just got chills. No, really. We are sooooo excited about this, we can't even begin to express it.

The fact that the cast and creators are taking the time to do this right — and that really means singing it live — really makes us believe this is going to live up to all our expectations.

Hugh, you've raised our hopes. Don't let it be for nothing!

[Image via WENN.]

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One comment to “Hugh Jackman Talks Singing Live In Les Mis Movie & Turning Into Jean Valjean”

  1. 1

    i cant wait–so long as Taylor Swift is not apart of it.