I thought it'd be fun to talk a little about the casting choices from the 2012 Les Misérables movie. I may do this for other movie versions as well, but for now the 2012 is the only one I've finished.
So let's proceed, shall we? ;)
*Warning: overused caps lock and italics to follow*
"Suddenly I see what I could not see. Something suddenly has begun."
Now, I know that some people don't love his singing. Although I'm by no means an expert on singing(haha), my Dad and I both enjoyed his.
My only criticism is that he let the singing fall flat in a couple places. For example, most Valjeans sing-
My soul belongs to God, (*increase in volume*), I know
Hugh Jackman sang it this way--
My soul belongs to God, (*whispers*) I know
He did that in a couple other places as well, so I'll leave it up to you to decide if he was unnecessarily mellowing the melody, or trying to sound more conversational with himself(wow, that sentence made a whole lot of sense ;) ).
Javert- Russell Crowe
"Mine is the way of the Lord. Those who follow the path of the righteous will have their reward."
Poor Russell Crowe. (and poor Nick Jonas while we're at it)
Some people don't like Hugh Jackman's singing, and others laugh at the way Eddie Redmayne's head trembles on high notes, but there is almost unanimous agreement that Russell Crowe sings very poorly.
I'm not even sure that I'd say he really understood book-Javert's character. I'll talk about him another day, but I'd point to Norm Lewis as an actor who better perceived Hugo's Javert.
I imagined Javert with a sharp face and bark-like voice, neither of which were accomplished in Russell Crowe. This Javert always seemed unsure of himself, a part of his book-character to be sure, but he concealed it better in the book.
Again, Norm Lewis is better. :D
The Bishop- Colm Wilkinson
"But remember this my brother: see in this some higher plan. God has raised you out of darkness to become an honest man."
YES YES YES.
For those who didn't know, Colm Wilkinson was the original Jean Valjean on Broadway.
*pause for dramatic effect*
So clearly, there's no way "they" could have gone wrong with casting him as the Bishop.
Fantine- Anne Hathaway
"Now life has killed the dream...I dreamed."
Gahhh, this casting choice has my wholehearted approval.
Not only is her acting spot-on, but she sings like Fantine should sing. My first exposure to I Dreamed a Dream, and the musical as a whole, actually, was The Complete Symphonic Recording from 1988. Fantine sings I Dreamed a Dream like... a confident opera singer, evoking all the wrong images. The Fantine she portrayed on that album is a completely different Fantine than the timid woman Victor Hugo wrote.
All that to say-- I love Anne Hathaway for finding the right "Fantine-voice", especially in I Dreamed a Dream.
And fun fact, provided by my friend Ilse, she lost twenty-five pounds for the role.
Bravo, Anne Hathaway. :D
Young Cosette- Isabelle Allen
"I know a place where no one's lost. I know a place where no one cries. Crying at all is not allowed. Not in my castle on a cloud."
Dawwwww, she is SO CUTE.
(Thank you, Pinterest)She's also a good singer and good actor, and yes, much approval.
Older Cosette- Amanda Seyfried
"Does he know I'm alive; do I know if he's real? Does he see what I see; does he feel what I feel?"
Not my favorite, to be honest. I don't like the way her voice shakes at the end of a phrase or that she's far too old to play Cosette. Seriously, Cosette was like my age.
Wouldn't it be awesome if they made a movie where Cosette and Eponine were actually teens?
Mr. Thénardier- Sacha Baron Cohen
"Have we done for your child what is best? Shared our bread, shared each bone, treated her like she's one of our own!"
Hey look, it's the Station Inspector! (Watch Hugo if you're confused) He's funny and all, but like Russell Crowe, I'm not sure he grasped the book-Mr. Thenardier's personality. Or maybe the way it's scripted is at fault.
In the book, the family dynamic was more like "Mistress of the House". Mrs. Thénardier ran the show for the first half of the story. Here, Sacha Baron Cohen seems a little too "together" to play Mr. Thénardier accurately.
Mrs. Thénardier- Helena Bonham-Carter
"Medicines are expensive, Monsieur! Not that we begrudged a sou: it's not more than we Christians must do!"
Not much too say. It was exciting to see a big-name actor(Harry Potter, Cinderella), but her performance was neither stunning nor disappointing to me.
But, while I'm on the Thénardiers, let's talk about...
Eponine Thénardier- Samantha Barks
"I love him. If only on my own."
Ahh, Samatha Barks. She's talented, pretty, and the only cast member who played the same role in the 25th Anniversary edition.
I only have two complaints about her being chosen:
1). Her voice is too high.
I'm not even sure what they could've done about it, but Victor Hugo explicitly describes her voice as such:
"It was a hollow, cracked, smothered, rasping voice, the voice of an old man, roughened by brandy and liquor."
Obviously it would've ruined all the songs she was in if she actually sounded like that, but I still think they could've chosen someone with a deeper voice.
At least hers was better than the Eponine from the 1988 recording. That Eponine sounds like a 6 year old.
2). She's too old.
She was about twenty-one when it was released, unlike the book-Eponine who was closer to my age.
Otherwise I really liked her performance.
Marius- Eddie Redmayne
"Oh, my friends my friends, don't ask me what you're sacrifice was for!"
Yeah, so. I don't really know about him. At first, when I'd just seen pictures, I thought he was a good idea. But when I saw the movie, I realized he just wasn't quite right. I can't put it into words and he's really not that bad...
His singing is okay and all...
It's silly, but I think the biggest problem is the way his head quivers on high notes, because it distracts me.
Maybe I should watch it again and re-assess. :)
Enjolras- Aaron Tveit
"The colors of the world are changing day by day!"
I'm probably the only Les Mis fan in the world who isn't totally obsessed with Enjolras. He's awesome! He's great! But I don't get the obsession included in so many peoples' Les Mis fangirling. :)
|so intense :)|
(Again, I need to re-watch it)
Gavroche- Daniel Huttlestone
"So never kick a dog because he's just a pup, we'll follow twenty armies and we won't give up, so you better run for cover when the pup grows up!"
YASS. He is so cute! You know what, we need more pictures:
(Again, thank you to Pinterest!)
The Barricade Boys
I don't have an opinion really on any of the actors for the barricade boys. My favorite is Combeferre, played by Fra Free.
Other Special Appearances-
Katie Hall I didn't even pick up on this one till I was doing the "research" for this post, but apparently one of the women who sings in "Turning"(Did you see them going off to fight?) is Katie Hall, who played Cosette in the 25 Anniversary Edition. How cool is that!
The soldier- *ahem* He actually doesn't have a name, but he's one of the soldiers fighting the barricade boys and he's played by Hadley Fraser, who was Grantaire in the 25th Anniversary. According to the internet at least. ;)
So there you go!
Agree/disagree? Who is your favorite actor in Les Misérables?