They’re finally doing Les Mis. Not some adaptation from scratch, but the brilliant, gut-wrenching, its-so-perfect-why-haven’t-they-made-it-a-movie-yet musical, and I only just saw the teaser. It has clips of the actors just standing around in costume, while Anne Hathaway sings “I Dreamed a Dream.” Its beautiful, and I need to indulge myself and explain exactly why I am so excited about the casting.
Anne Hathaway as Fantine
Lately, Anne has been reminding me that she is actually a pretty versatile actress. She has such a modern actress face, and the first thing I saw her in was The Princess Diaries, so I tend to forget that she’s actually good, not just getting roles because she’s the currently fashionable type of pretty. If you have any doubts about that, check out Rachel Getting Married. In this case, it was really her performance in the teaser that got me so excited. Her voice doesn’t soar the way some previous Fantines’ voices have, but it does something more important. It carries the emotions, and that combined with her expressions gave me goosebumps.
Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean
If I had been hunting my brain for the essential Jean Valjean, I would struggle to come up with anyone but Colm Wilkinson. Hugh Jackman has potential. He can blend shades of grey in his performance very well, whether he’s playing a flawed protagonist or a sympathetic antagonist. That’s important for Jean Valjean. He’s heroic, but he has doubts about his own heroism. If anything, he is heroic because he doesn’t rely on his track record for his vision of himself. He is well aware of his weaknesses and temptations, and makes his choices anew, day after day. Some actors might be tempted to play him as a straight hero, but Hugh Jackman will most likely be able to show us someone who struggles with the same things we do, and just happens to make many of the decisions we wish we would make.
Russell Crowe as Javert
Yes. A thousand times yes. Russell Crowe is very talented, but one thing common to his performances is that he’s always understated, never cartoonish. You could do a dramatic Javert, but I prefer the calm, rational man of the law. Russell Crowe can nail that. His Javert would be serene, but underneath we would see hints of the scars of the man from the gutters. When emotion is called for he will deliver, but those scenes will be emphasized by all the quiet around them.
Samantha Barks as Eponine
I haven’t seen her in anything, as the main thing she’s famous for is playing Eponine onstage, which is a good sign to say the least. I’ve seen some clips from her performances, and she looks great.
Amanda Seyfried as Cosette
I’m not exactly a fan of hers, nor am I a hater. I just think she has a somewhat limited range. There are certain types of characters she can play well, and others she really can’t. Luckily, if I had to come up with a character who embodies everything she can play, it would be Cosette. What’s more, she has the perfect face for it, and she can sing with the kind of soft, light tone Cosette needs.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thernadiers
Really, do I have to say anything? Anything at all? This is going to be like watching cats being paid to lick their paws and sit superciliously.
Eddie Redmayne as Marius and Aaron Tveit as Enjolras
I haven’t seen them in anything, but I have seen pictures and heard recordings of their singing. They look perfect and sound perfect. Color me optimistic.
Here’s the teaser. What are your thoughts?