The epic tale Les Misérables has now come full circle. Victor Hugo wrote the novel in 1862. Then it was adapted into a play by Hugo and his son just a year later, and several adaptations were made following that. Orson Welles adapted the work into a radio series in the 1930s, and then it was developed into a musical that hit Broadway in 1987. There have been film and television adaptations done, but not one like the big Hollywood production that will be coming out later this year.
The teaser trailer for “Les Misérables” was released today, and it looks like an epic adaptation. Katie Hasty has more at Hitfix.com:
Taking beloved stage musical “Les Misérables” to the big screen is no easy feat, but in the new teaser trailer that dropped today, it seems the newest incarnation's filmmakers at least got the scale right.
Victor Hugo's novel, set in 19th century, elegantly compounded the human condition and challenged the high and low ground of ethics and class loyalty, which made for good stage material and even romance when it was first adapted as plays — and then as a musical in the 1980s. The music of that show is why the show is so fiercely defended, well-worn and beloved, because of its strong feminine arcs around Jean Valjean's hard-scrabble for redemption.
Which brings us back to size. What a stage musical can't do is reveal sweeping landscape aerials and assemble enough bodies to amp a student rebellion to scale. Capturing songs in close, quiet quarters also has the appeal of nixing full-throated stage sound, for much more intimate performances in-studio. Director Tom Hooper — on whom every eye is fallen after “The King's Speech” — seems unafraid to let the “Les Mis' actors look like dirt and, hopefully, let them act, fight and die like dirt, too, without the quick costume changes between acts.
I haven't seen the play/musical or read the book, and that seems like a mistake to me after watching the trailer. Here it is below:
We know Hugh Jackman is a great singer, and it sounds like Anne Hathaway has some nice pipes as well. Of all the names associated with the film, I'm happiest for Amanda Seyfried. I really like her as an actress, and she has been in some absolutely awful projects lately. Good for her. I'm also excited to see what Russell Crowe can do in this musical environment.
When you take Hooper, add in this material with this cast (which also includes Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter), that has to equal something positive, right?