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[Movies] Check Out Highlights Of The Les Miserable Press Conference
Posted by Joseph Lee on 12.19.2012

Coming Soon attended the press conference about Tom Hooper's Les Miserables, which opens on Christmas Day. The conference featured stars Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks and Amanda Seyfried,

Jackman on playing Jean Valjean: "He's obviously one of the great literary characters and I kind of see him as a real hero - quiet, humble. It's been such a great reminder in the press today about the New York City cop who bought the shoes for the homeless man. To me, Jean Valjean comes from the places of the greatest hardship that I could never imagine--don't think any of us here could--and manages to transform himself from the inside. Obviously on film we wanted to show the outside change as well, but actually Victor Hugo uses the word 'transfiguration' because it's more than a transformation. He becomes more godlike, it's a spiritual change, it's something that happens from within. To me, it's one of the most beautiful journeys ever written and I didn't take the responsible of playing the role lightly. I think it's one of the greatest opportunities I've ever had and if I'm tenth of the man Jean Valjean is, I'll be a very happy man."

Jackman on drastically changing his appearance for the opening scene: "We talked (about that) from the beginning. It's a very big part of the story, this relationship Javert has with Valjean, and they know each other right through the story and when they meet in the play, it's probably five minutes in when they meet nine years later and he has no idea who this guy is. It's plainly clear that he's taken the fake beard off and put on a wig, and he said that we have an opportunity for all the characters to show time, scale, all these things so he said, 'I want to make you unrecognizable and if people in your life aren't saying you're sick, something is wrong,' so I did lose a lot of weight and then had the joy of putting weight on, which was a 30 pound journey from the beginning, but I have to say that pales in comparison to what this lady next to me did because at least I had time to prepare and do that. Annie was doing it over 14 days, you lost about 300 pounds I think? "

Hathaway on crying on cue: "I don't know there's any secrets to it. It's just a pulse, a vein that you follow. In my case, there's no way that I could relate to what my character was going through. I have a very successful, happy life and I don't have any children that I had to give up… or keep. What I did was I tried to get inside the reality of her story as it exists inside our world and to do that, I read a lot of articles and watched a lot of documentaries and news clips about sexual slavery and for this particular story, I came to the realization that I had been thinking about Fantine as someone who lived in the past, but she doesn't. She's living in New York City right now. She's probably less than a block away. This injustice exists in our world so every day that I was her, I just thought, 'This isn't an invention, this isn't me acting, this is me honoring that this pain lives in this world' and I hope in all of our lifetimes, like today, we see it end."

Hathaway on Russell Crowe: ""Honestly the person who I think was the beginning of the glue that we wound up developing isn't even here unfortunately and that was Russell (Crowe). You cannot underestimate Russell's contribution and influence on the cast. He was the first one to say, 'Hey, everyone come to my house on Friday night. My voice teacher is going to play piano, we'll have a couple drinks and we'll sing.' That was such a key part of the process because up until that point, we were in rehearsals with each other, we were very serious, we were spending all day crying but in between, I don't think we'd gotten to the point where we thought of song as a way of communicating with each other. I think we thought, 'This is what we have to do, this is a technical thing that we have to accomplish,' and through those nights, Russell let us approach it from a completely different perspective, which is, 'This is the way we're going to communicate, this is the language we speak, these are our shared experiences.' I can't speak for everyone, but I know it made me so much more invested in the totality of the film. Being in the small part of the film that I am, I could easily have just gone home and forgotten about it, but I cared so much I needed to know, 'How did 'On My Own' go? In my life how did that turn out?' I think it really cemented the bond between us and now we say we're 'Camp Les Mis.'"


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