Saturday, 14 July 2012

Les Miserables (Teaser Trailer)

The filming of Les Mis has officially finished! The film has gone into post-production now, and while the film-makers are now busy with all the technical, editing stuff they have to do they've given us a poster and a theatrical trailer to look at. Here are my thoughts on the trailer and other news that I've heard about the film:

- Well, the film certainly looks great! I love how Tom Hooper seems to have gone for a gritty, dirty and realistic approach.

- Anne Hathaway's singing of I Dreamed a Dream on the trailer has already caused some controversy amongst Les Mis fans. Although I was a bit disappointed not to hear Anne belt the song out at first, I actually really like her version of the song now and I think it will work really well for the big screen. She gives quite a different interpretation of I Dreamed a Dream. This song is usually performed as a belty, power ballad but Anne gives a more vulnerable and emotionally fragile take on this song - and it makes sense. In the stage version of Les Mis that we have now, Fantine sings I Dreamed a Dream after she's been sacked from the factory. But on the original French concept album Fantine sings the I Dreamed a Dream/J'avais Reve D'une Autre Vie song after she's become a prostitute and is dying of TB. Judging from this trailer, the I Dreamed a Dream song has been moved back to its original position. It makes sense then for Anne to sing the song the way she does. This sort of interpretation wouldn't work so well for the stage version but Anne doesn't have to project her voice to the back of the theatre like stage actresses have to do. Also, her version of the song reflects the fact that Fantine's health and life are supposed to be deteriorating. The character is in complete despair. Almost all of her old spirit has gone. She's at her lowest ebb. There are videos on YouTube of Anne belting songs out and I'm certain that she has the vocal ability to a powerful, belty version of I Dreamed a Dream. Anne sings the song the way she does out of choice, not because she can't! I have full confidence that Anne is going to do a great job in this film. Also, the hair-cutting scene looks like it's going to be great and I love the shot at 0.54 in the trailer. It looks like something out of a horror movie! It's cool, creepy and sad. I'm assuming that it's from the Lovely Ladies song.

- Judging from the shots of Jean Valjean at Toulon, it looks like they're going to film Work Song as a montage. I really like that. It's something that can't be done on stage and it shows that they're making the most of the medium.

- I love the shot of scared, young Cosette in the woods and her shots with Valjean. The actress they've cast (I think her name is Isabelle Allen) looks really cute and she actually looks like a younger version of Amanda Seyfried. Hopefully her version of Castle on a Cloud will be good. 

- I expect that we'll see more of the Thenardiers in the next trailer. They're conspicuously absent in this teaser trailer and it's obvious that Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were still filming their scenes at the time the trailer was put together. We don't see Enjolras in this trailer either. I would also expect the theatrical trailer to focus a bit more on the revolution since this trailer focuses mainly on Fantine's character and the I Dreamed a Dream song. It would be cool if the theatrical trailer included Look Down, Do You Hear the People Sing? or One Day More.

- It's been announced that there's going to be a song in this film that isn't in the stage version. It's a new song that has been written especially for the film called Suddenly. I expect that the film-makers are hoping that this song will get the film an Oscar nomination, or even a win, for Best Original Song - like when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice won an Oscar for the You Must Love Me song they wrote for the Evita film. The original stage version songs wouldn't be eligible to receive nominations for the Best Song category. Apparently Suddenly is going to be sung by Valjean and will be about him learning to love and bring up young Cosette. To be honest I would rather it be the other way round, that the song would be about Cosette learning to love Valjean as her father. Cosette doesn't have any solo songs in the musical and I think her character could do with one. Also, Valjean already has three solo songs: Valjean's Soliloquy (or What Have I Done?), Who Am I? and Bring Him Home. It's not like he needs another. Having said that though, this new song might fill in the gap between Valjean taking Cosette away from the Thenardiers and then showing up in Paris with her almost a decade later. The stage version doesn't mention what happens to Valjean and Cosette during this gap, but those who have read the book will know that Valjean and Cosette spend that gap living at the Gorbeau House and then at a convent. Maybe we'll get to see this in the film?!

- This beings me to another thing that I'm looking forward to about this film. Even though it's going to be based on the musical rather than the book itself, it seems that the film-makers have still drawn a lot of inspiration from Hugo's novel. Apparently, Azelma is going to make an appearance in the film and Gavroche's elephant is going to be in it. Apparently, Bamatabois is going to put snow down Fantine's dress in this film too. George Blagden (who plays Grantaire) has written tweets which imply that his character and Enjolras get shot by a firing squad like they do in the book. Yay for this book-inspired goodness!

- Fans of the book are going to enjoy the extra little details from Hugo's novel that are going to be in this film, and theatre geeks are going to enjoy spotting the various cameos from West End stars. Samantha Barks has been cast as Eponine and it's been announced that several stars from the stage version of Les Mis are going to make appearances in this film; including Hannah Waddingham, Caroline Sheen, Bertie Carvel, Alexia Khadime, Kerry Ellis, Killian Donnelly, Hadley Fraser, Gina Beck, Katie Hall and Nancy Sullivan. Colm Wilkinson (the original Valjean) is going to play the Bishop in this film - yay! Also, Frances Ruffelle (the original Eponine) is going to make an appearance in this film...hmm. I know that Ruffelle won a Tony for playing Eponine, and that there are people out there who like her, but I've always found her voice to be whiny, nasal and grating. Ah well, Ruffelle's cameo will be nice for her fans. It seems like the film-makers are covering all bases with this film. They've put in extra details from the book to keep book fans happy. They've put in West End stars to keep the theatre geeks happy. And they've cast some big-name Hollywood actors (see the teaser poster) to try pulling in a new audience. 

- I know that this may sound a bit ridiculous since this film isn't even finished yet but I already think that it's going to be one of the best stage-to-screen adaptations ever made. It certainly looks like it's going to be a million miles better than Joel Schumacher's Phantom of the Opera film. Damn you Schumacher! Why did you have to ruin Phantom?! I think this film is instead going to be right up there with My Fair Lady, Little Shop of Horrors and The Sound of Music as being one of the best musical films ever made. I'm even thinking that this film is going to be of my all-time favourites! Now for some photos and videos of the film : )

Samantha Barks is beautiful but dang, her waist is tiny! Someone give her a sandwich! I  think they were trying to make her look like a poor, starving girl.

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