The Christmas Day release of the film "Les Miserables" left many audiences in awe of the singing chops and acting talents of their most favorite actors in the business. People who usually play comic book characters, doe-eyed princesses, and hard-nosed detectives took on the classic musical. In bringing the "Les Miserables" experience to the big screen, the cast revived the musical film genre once again while winning a new admiration from their fans. Here's a list of those great cast members and their great contribution to the legacy of Victor Hugo's literary work.
Although she had a small role in the film, Hathaway is the name being tossed around for an Oscar. Her performance of the signature song "I Dreamed a Dream" as character Fantine (the mother of Amanda Seyfried's character Cossette) is one of the most memorable numbers of the film. Hathaway reveals that she volunteered to cut her hair for the film, an act done onscreen by her hairdresser dressed in period women's clothing (the hairdresser was a man). Like all of the other numbers in the film, Hathaway's song was performed completely in one take, live. She was really crying while singing. Hathaway also sings "At the End of the Day," "Lovely Ladies," and others with various cast members.
Jackman's character Jean Valjean is the lead role in the film. He was a criminal who takes in Fantine's child as a ward. Jackman begins the film in prison, which required him to lose thirty pounds. He had to gain the weight back to play Valjean later in the movie, however. Jackman's nineteen musical performances include "Bring Him Home," "Suddenly," and other ensemble performances with other cast members.
The man who plays the tough hero usually reprises his role in music form. In this film, Russel Crowe plays Javert, the policeman who pursues Valjean throughout the film. Javert and Valjean share many scenes together, so Jackman and Crowe have plenty of ensemble numbers sang throughout the film. Crowe sings six numbers, including, "Stars," "Javert's Suicide," and "Little People."
The sweet-faced Seyfried plays Cossette, the daughter of prostitute Fantine and ward to Valjean. Cossette wants to live and love but must survive the likes of the horrible Thenardiers and the strict upbringing under Valjean. Seyfried's musical numbers include "Every Day," "One Day More," "Attack on Rue Plummet," and three other songs.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter
The comic relief in "Les Miserables" is Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers. The couple is crooked foster parents to Cossette who would do anything for a price, including helping Javert in his crusade against Valjean. During filming of scenes between Cohen and Jackman, Jackman found Cohen so hilarious that it took twenty takes and sometimes more to get a scene done without laughter. Carter brought a similar hilarity to the film. The two of them sang a total of eight numbers, including "Beggar's at the Feast" and "One Day More."
Cossette's love interest is Marius (played by Eddie Redmayne). Although he comes along later in the film, Redmayne does light up the screen with his renditions of the "Les Miserable" songs, including, "A Little Fall of Rain," "Night of Anguish," and "Drink with Me," among eleven other numbers.
The newcomer in the film is Banks in her debut role as Eponine Thenardier, the daughter of the crooked couple assisting Javert. Eponine is in love with Marius, who only has eyes for Cossette. This leads to some very hairy situations. Banks handles her lines and seven musical numbers with great ease. Her numbers include "One Day More" with Jackman, Redmayne, and Seyfried. Although Banks does not get a solo performance, her ensemble work shines through with the voices of others onscreen.
Director Tom Hooper famously eschewed dubbed performances and lip-synching to bring a unique theatric feel to this screen performance. He also made every actor, including those who usually are chosen for a film audition for three hours to win each part. They had to sing and act, among other exercises, to ensure that each part was properly cast. The news of Hooper's methods from the beginning of the film to the end made the gossip columns week after week during the production of the film. He also created a unique performance that not only fans of "Les Miserables" but also new audiences will see how well a theatric musical can be translated to the silver screen with some hard work and creative thinking.