Thursday, February 23, 2012

'words' part 7 // Les Miserables Movie Cast {guest post by Ally}

Hello, everyone! I’m Alexandra, and Michaela (known to me as Flip) very kindly asked if I would guest post this week!

Les Miserables

She asked me to post my opinion on the cast of the upcoming film version of the musical Les Miserables, which I’m sure you’re all pretty familiar with (or at least by now! J). Now, she and I have discussed this topic many times over email, and we do have some differing opinions (now comes the time for those scrolling credits you see before a documentary about “how the opinions expressed here are not necessarily the views of So-and-So who made the movie…”), but she oh-so-graciously allowed me to put my opinions here on her blog. What a nice thing to do.

Anyway. After twenty-five years, it seems that Les Miserables is finally coming to the big screen as a musical. There are multiple film adaptations of the actual story, but none so far of the blockbuster musical, and the 10th and 25th anniversary concert versions are to this point all we have. However, keeping in mind the recent film adaptations of big-name musicals that frankly were flops of their stage predecessors (everyone has a different point of view but since this is my blog post…hehehe), many people are rather leery of a film adaptation, and we’ve all been watching for the cast as the rumors and confirmations come trickling in. We’ve seen before what happens – talent gets tossed aside for big-name actors, resulting in mediocre music…which kind of ruins the whole thing, especially in the case of Les Miserables where the whole thing is sung. Anyway. 

So without further ado, here are the so-far-casting and my opinions…(and I’m not going to into the plot/who the characters are…I’m assuming everyone’s familiar with it…)

Hugh Jackman as Valjean – this is one of those that Flip and I disagree on. J Ok, so his voice isn’t incredible, but at least he can singperiod…more than I can say for other big-name actors that have been cast in musical leads in recent films. You can find clips of his singing inOklahoma on YouTube…and what’s more, he looks rugged enough (IMO) to play the convict. I am wondering how they’ll do on aging him…Valjean does age…what, thirty years or so?...over the course of the story. The one thing I am worry about is if they’ll transpose some of his songs down…which will be the death right there. It’s just admitting that he’s not good enough for the role. But a high B flat isn’t something that anyone can just pick up and do…soooooo we’ll see! But I’m hopeful for this role.

I can’t say the same for Russell Crowe, who’s been cast as Javert. (I wanted Paul Bettany, who was rumored to have been in contention for the role before Crowe was cast, so Crowe’s all ready got bad points going for him.) Apparently he was in a rock band or something early in his life, which instantly sends red flags flying for me, as another lead in another musical-turned-to-film was a rock singer…and ruined the role he was cast in. I was reading through comments when he was cast and one person asked, “Can he sing??” Another commenter replied, “Well, he can always talk-sing, like Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady.” To which the other replied, “You can’t talk-sing Javert’s role.” Honestly…both ideas are noooooot good. Belting out Stars won’t work, and neither will talk-singing. Can you imagine Rex Harrison talk-singing the song? “You are the sentinels! Silent…and sure!” Nooooope, not working for me. Of course, he may turn around and do great. But this is one of the roles I’m really freaked out about. And not in a good way. 

Anne Hathaway as Fantine,
on the other hand, is one that I am rather looking forward to. I’ve really enjoyed the work I’ve seen Hathaway in…she’s a really good dramatic actress, which is of course what’s most important for this role. And apparently she can sing…she was originally a contestant for the role of Christine in Phantom of the Opera…and if you’ve heard any songs from POTO, you know that you have to be a decent singer to be able to manage Christine’s part. I’ve never actually heard her sing anything, but I am looking forward to seeing her interpretation of my favorite character in the musical. I do wonder if they’re going to make her a blonde?

Amanda Seyfried as Cosette is an iffy one. I’ve never actually seen her in anything or heard her sing…she supposedly studied with an operatic group, which hopefully means she’ll at least be able to manage Cosette’s part, the one soprano role in the musical. I’ve seen her all over the place though…magazine covers and the “latest release” films at the store…and honestly, I’m wondering how well she’s going to translate to a period film…she just doesn’t quite have the look. Plus she looks nothing like Anne Hathaway, which isn’t a big deal, I guess, but since she’s her daughter…minor quibble there. And she looks too old for the part, which could of course depend on the way they make her up. (My personal dream was to see Emmy Rossum in this role…sigh, oh well…). Soooo we’ll see with this one.

Samantha Barks as Eponine – Samantha appeared as Eponine in the 25th anniversary concert, and though I wasn’t crazy about her performance (but then, who can beat Lea Salonga, the best Eponine IMO?), she is ten million times better than the rumored Taylor Swift! I’ll take Samantha any day. So I was soooo relieved to hear that Taylor wasn’t cast after all. J Of course (and I may be stepping on some toes here), a lot of my dissatisfaction with Samantha was her scenes with Nick Jonas as Marius…the Little Fall of Rain number (one of my favorite songs in the musical) was flat as anything. But I recently found a clip of her singing it with Gareth Gates in an actual production on stage, and I was favorably impressed in that. Soooo there’s hope for Samantha. Barely there, but hope anyway. 

 I have to say that I know nothing about Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Sacha Baron Cohen (Monsieur Thenardier),  or Aaron Tveit (Enjo) other than the latter has done a lot of Broadway shows. But other than that…nothing. So I cannot give my informed opinion other than Marius looks scary. And that’s about it.

On the other hand, I’m thrilled to death about the casting of Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thenardier. Helena Bonham Carter is one of my top favorite actresses period, and she’s incredible. Soooo looking forward to seeing what she does with the character. Yes, yes, yes.

And I have to give a shout-out to my beloved Colm Wilkinson, the Valjean forever and ever...who's been given the bit part of the Bishop in the beginning of the story. It’s so lovely to see them giving a bit of homage to his part…and since even this huge Colm/Valjean fan has to admit that he is just a tad too old to actually play Valjean…I’m happy that he at least gets to be in the film. Hoorah!

I have to say I’m soooo excited to see how it looks on film…while I’m sure there’ll be a lot of content in the film (thankfully we have a filter!), it’ll be neat to see the interpretation of the story onto a film setting…I can’t wait to see what they do with One Day More. And I Dreamed a Dream. And Do You Hear the People Sing. And Come to Me/Confrontation. And Who am I. And…ok, yikes. I’m getting just the teeeeeeeniest tiniest bit excited. Just a teeniest. This is not good.   

And that concludes this very biased, rather nonsensical little mini-commentary on the upcoming film. I am interested in seeing how it progresses as more casting comes to light and production starts! I suppose we shall see! Soooo…what’s your opinion on the film? The cast?

Thanks again for letting me post, Flip! Hope you have a great time and can’t wait to see you on here again!    
Alexandra is  twenty-two years old and passionate about everything in life! She is a Christian, a daughter, sister, and piano teacher, and her obsessions include reading voraciously (classics are my specialty), singing, playing the piano, anything and everything British, The Scarlet Pimpernel, great films (especially costume dramas…the more romantic, the better), talking, costume reproduction, musical theatre and historical stuff in general. She blog's about costume dramas, musicals, costume reproduction, classic literature and everything historical related at Of Trims and Frills and FurbelowsShe also contribute to The Day Dreamthe most awesome Scarlet Pimpernel blog around, and blog about everything else in her life (yes, I do have one) at The Value of One.


  1. Ooh! I was planning a sort of post about this very topic myself, but I see Alexandra beat me to it. :P

    So. Long, rambling commentary, here we come.

    Hugh Jackman is, IMHO, too good-looking to play Jean Valjean. Sorry. And he doesn't have beard. Of course, he could grow a beard for the movie. Which he'll probably do. (I hope.) So ignore what I just said. And I really, really hope they don't transpose any of his songs down. Because if Bring Him Home was lowered it would RUIN IT. Also, I really hope he puts some oomph into the songs. Valjean's songs must be sung with Lungpower. This is why Alfie Boe just doesn't cut it as Valjean for me. "I am warning you, Javert! I am the stronger man by far! There is power in me yet, my race is not yet RU-UN!" Yeah. That line is supposed to be.... roared. Like the way Colm Wilkinson does it. You know, intimidating. Valjean is supposed to be a little scary sometimes.

    Oh, well, here's hoping.

    Russell Crowe looks the part of Javert, I think. He reminds me of Philip Quast a little bit, which is a veddy good thing, but he'd better not talk-sing. And though Stars should in NO WAY be "belted out", Javert's Suicide SHOULD be. At least part of it. So... yeah.

    Anne Hathaway actually sings quite well. I heard a clip of her singing at the Oscars a year or two ago and she was really good. I'm just kinda wondering how they're going to do the hair thing though...
    Old Woman Buying Hair: There. Ten francs.
    Fantine: I look like a moose!
    Old Woman: Yeah, but a very cute moose. Make all the boy moose go HWOHNK.

    Sorry. I couldn't resist that.

    Amanda Seyfried does indeed look too modern. They should have cast Katie Hall.

    As for Eponine--why can't they just put Lea Salonga in a time machine??? (Or--here's a thought--have Lea Salonga play Fantine, at least!) I agree, though, the reason A Little Fall of Rain was so static was because of That Guy Pretending To Be Marius. Samantha Barks on her own (haha) will probably do a pretty good job.

    Speaking of Marius, can't we just put Michael Ball in a time machine too? I know nothing about this Eddie Redmayne, but his looks Do Not Impress Me. Marius is supposed to be young, yes, but he's not a third grader.

    I haven't seen Helena Bonham-Carter in anything yet (shocking, I know) but she looks like she'll make a good Thenardiess. And I don't know anything about this Aaron Tveit... gonna go look him up... Hmmm. Well, nothing and no one will ever match Michael Maguire, but at least he looks the part. Sorta.

    I wonder who they'll cast as Gavroche? He better be good. My favorite character must not be ruined.

    Colm Wilkinson as the Bishop... happy sigh.
    Okay, now I don't need to write a blog post about this, because I just wrote an entire post here in Michaela's comment box...

  2. Hmm...interesting.

    I haven't seen this movie period,but I might bring myself to watch this one when it comes out.
    Who is Eponine related to?
    I just know a rough outline of the story.

  3. I think my obsessed-with-Les-Mis heart may have enjoyed this post a bit too much... :) What a lovely summary; I'm starting to really look forward to this movie!

  4. Thanks so much for letting me post, Flip! I had such a blast!!!


  5. I was just looking at the casting the other day on IMDB- and I was quite surprised at the casting, actually. The two I'm looking foreward to seeing the most in this movie are Anne Hathaway (I've heard her sing before, at the Oscars last year, and she's actually really good) and Helena Bonham Carter. I'm not really sure about any of the others, because I don't really know anything about them. Except Hugh Jackman (saw him in Oklahoma! on PBS. Apparently he also played Gaston on Broadway, too).

    Great hearing your thoughts!

  6. If you're interested, you can hear Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway sing together here.

  7. I am very excited for the new Les Miserables film and the movie cast!

    In my opinion, Hugh Jackman would make a good Jean Valjean. He sings pretty well, although there are others who sing better. Not sure how they'll make him age older, though.

    Likewise, I think Anne Hathaway can make a great Fantine. Ever since I saw her and Hugh Jackman sing together at the Oscars, I knew they would work well together in a film. A musical film, in fact. I was also wondering about the blond hair.

    I am not crazy over Amanda being Cosette. For some reason, she seems nothing like Cosette to me. Too modern, perhaps?

    Whew! So Eponine won't be played by Taylor Swift after all. She didn't seem fit to play that role. I have no idea how Samantha acts or sings, but let's see how it goes. I agree with you: Lea Salonga is the best Eponine ever!

    I was relieved to know it wasn't Nick Jonas playing Marius. But Eddie Redmayne...well, you're right. He does look scary.

    Helena Bonham Carter is a wonderful, fantastic actress. I'm excited to see her as Madame Thenardier.

  8. I'm so exited for this movie! I hope they do an excellent job with it. loved this post.

    Kathryn from

  9. I may be a little late in reading this post from Alexandra, but I enjoyed it. A lot.

    The part about Rex Harrison/sing-songing just wouldn't work for Javert, I agree... but a quite hilarious thought.

    I actually didn't really know about this new film until now. I feel "educated" about it because of this post, and I'm looking forward seeing the film!


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