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CinemaCon 2012: Monty Cristo Has Heard (and Seen) the LES MISERABLES Teaser Trailer!

"Monty Cristo" here again...


The reason I point out "heard" in that headline is that, as much fancy 3D footage as I saw last week, this particular thing stood out due to the way it sounded. Universal is taking a gamble on Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper, who has made the artistic choice to record all of his actors singing live on set, rather than dubbing and autotuning later.


This is a landmark moment inthe history of the cinema musical. I can think of few times in the modern sound era when this has been done, aside from James Brown doing one song this way in THE BLUES BROTHERS.


This is also an enormous gamble if you ask some, but from where I sit, I have to say that it's about damn time.


I've enjoyed loads of musicals for decades, but they all suffer from the same design issue: they all play like feature-length music video playlists, hermetically sealed in the glossy, pretty world of the same old song and dance (quite literally).


The teaser is very brief, showing brief clips of Hugh Jackman's Jean Valjean as a prisoner with a shaved head and as a gentleman later, Russell Crowe's Inspector Javert scowling, and Anne Hathaway as tragic Fantine in various stages of despair. The audio that plays over the action is her unvarnished, raw rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream", which could not be more different than the Susan Boyle rendition that is most vivid in the mass audience's memory. It's affected, bruised, and profoundly sad. It is easily the most impressive screen singing that Hathaway has done yet, and I think most of that is owed to it not being muddled with studio "enhancement".


For those who are bored by screen musicals (or simply don't find them immersive), I think much of that is due to it lacking the truly cathartic, raw experience of hearing it live. It really does make a difference to hear it that way.


They're only a couple of weeks into shooting, and from what studio types were saying at the presentation, they are very nervous about how this "radical" take will be received. If you ask me, they should debut it on live TV during something like THE VOICE. I'll go so far as to say that they're nuts if they don't.


As much as you have all gotta see LIFE OF PI footage to believe it, I can't wait for you all to HEAR this.


UPDATE: Not shown in the footage was newcomer Samantha Barks as Eponine, whose casting I wrote about back in late January.



Moisés Chiullan
"Monty Cristo"
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Readers Talkback
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  • April 30, 2012, 9:03 p.m. CST

    Can't wait!

    by Dharma4

    Any hint as to when it might come out? -Namaste-

  • April 30, 2012, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Christmas Day 2012: release date

    by Monty Cristo

  • April 30, 2012, 9:15 p.m. CST

    Do you hear the people sing?

    by Jay Garrick

    Let's just hope they all can really sing. The singing in Les Miz can be taxing even for a seasoned professional singer....this ain't exactly Sondheim or Lloyd Webber where you can get away with talky-singy stuff. By the first post. Happy to be here.

  • April 30, 2012, 9:21 p.m. CST


    by obijuanmartinez


  • April 30, 2012, 9:25 p.m. CST

    "Radical Take" on it? Ahhh... shit.

    by ShiftyEyedDog

    We wait decades for them to do a movie of the musical, and when they do, they decide to fuck with it. I was really looking forward to this, and had total confidence.... but now I'm worried.

  • April 30, 2012, 9:34 p.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    They have the advantage of not singing through the whole show for every take. They have a very solid slate of singers indeed, especially Jackman, Crowe, Hathaway, and Seyfried. I just added a link to a post I put up a while back about Samantha Barks, the brilliant performer they have playing Eponine:

  • April 30, 2012, 9:39 p.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    Please don't misunderstand, it's a "radical take" on the audio experience. The adaptation itself looks to be painstakingly true to form. With the great Cameron Mackintosh overseeing the whole thing, I worry about nothing here.

  • April 30, 2012, 9:42 p.m. CST

    Julie Taymor...

    by hcaulfield37

    had the actors do this in Across the Universe, right? I believe she says so in one of the special features.

  • April 30, 2012, 9:50 p.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    They did loads of post-processing on them, thereby defeating the purpose of recording them live. I'm positive they overdubbed too. This singing is entirely raw audio. No computers futzing with it.

  • April 30, 2012, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Thanks for the clarification

    by ShiftyEyedDog

    Color me relieved :)

  • April 30, 2012, 9:57 p.m. CST

    Yes, Across the Universe was dubbed

    by ShiftyEyedDog

    They sang live on set to look like they were actually singing and not lip syncing, but the audio used in the film was not that live singing. There are plenty of shots where it doesnt quite sync... not to mention scenes which move from shot-to-shot, and even different locations with no interruption of the audio... yeah, dubbed.

  • April 30, 2012, 9:57 p.m. CST

    Yeah - thanks.

    by hcaulfield37

    I wasn't sure. Turns out I was wrong.

  • April 30, 2012, 10:04 p.m. CST


    by KevinMuller

    I like him as a director because he is very serious with doing period pieces justice. I was impressed he directed every episode of John Adams with such grace and prestige. This will either be a great and innovative success or a complete misfire.

  • April 30, 2012, 11:03 p.m. CST

    Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady recorded on set...

    by MisterBlue the restoration documentary, they said at first they were amazed how perfectly in sync the recording was to his voice, then they finally realized that he was singing on set - if you notice, all the scene were Rexy sings, his tie gets very stiff - they hid the microphone behind it! Only time I've heard of singing on set until this - hope the audio sounds okay -

  • April 30, 2012, 11:13 p.m. CST

    We have an Indy Jones thing here....


    ...i.e the Connery/Ford - minor age difference, similar to the Hathaway/Seyfreid 3 year age difference......which bright spark was responsible for this brilliant bit of casting when hiring for a mother and daughter role.......

  • April 30, 2012, 11:36 p.m. CST

    I didn't know Monty Cristo was gay.

    by Gabe Athouse

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar; and sometimes a cigar is a big, brown dick. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  • April 30, 2012, 11:41 p.m. CST

    Age difference

    by ShiftyEyedDog

    isnt there a passage of time there? like seyfried/hathaway wont have scenes together

  • May 1, 2012, 3:40 a.m. CST


    by Edward Forster

    Monty Cristo isn't gay, he knows how to recognize the value of what he sees. hyperdyne-systems-model-120-a2 is homophobic and pretty ignorant:

  • May 1, 2012, 3:46 a.m. CST

    by Edward Forster

    Monty Cristo isn't gay, he knows how to recognize the value of what he sees. hyperdyne-systems-model-120-a2 is quite ignorant and homophobic. If people like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Howard Keel or Sinatra had had the misfortune to live in present age, because of sick clichés and homophobic prejudices would end up to working in gay bars dying poors and underestimated. Thank God these people are born in an age less barbaric of this current.

  • May 1, 2012, 7:33 a.m. CST

    Re: Russell Crowe Singing

    by Jay Garrick

    He fronts an Austrailian band. Kind of like Keanu Reeves, Doug Flutie and Johnny Depp have in the past. Its kind of the movie star wanting to be a rock god thing.

  • May 1, 2012, 9:03 a.m. CST

    "they all play like feature-length music video playlists..."

    by veritasses

    Yup. That about sums it up nicely. I do love old school movie musicals. Not so much the modern take...

  • May 1, 2012, 10:15 a.m. CST

    @danger_diabolik_ re: Age Difference *SPOILERS*

    by Sequitur

    When Anne Hathaway is on screen the character Seyfired is playing is a child. When Amanda Seyfried enters the film as adult Cosette, Anne Hathaway is long dead. Not to spoil too much, but the book and musical have been around for a long time

  • be playing Suzy Amis' (born 1962) grandmother?".

  • Good, that's how it's supposed to be. However, the part with Fantine that always gets me is her final bit in "Lovely Ladies". It takes the sadness of "I Dreamed a Dream" and piles on complete resignation and absolute degradation.

  • On twitter and tumblr, from cast members and even some of the original London cast members of the show posting pictures and video. The videos all sound amazing, and I can't wait to see how this turns out. I think that it will be absolutely amazing, especially due to the smaller roles being given to established musical theater actors.

  • to fill out the minor roles.