Les Miserables 2012 Breaks With Years of Tradition in Musical Film-making Method – and it’s a brilliant move

Les Miserables is one of the greatest artistic expressions of grace and redemption ever created. The novel was written by the great Victor Hugo, who also penned The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The story has been told in nearly artistic medium since it was first published 150 years ago this year.

A new adaptation of the stage musical is being developed for the big screen and it looks like it’s going to be amazing. The cast includes Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, and others. Although the cast will provide the magic, the director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), came up with the method that will push this film over the top.

Instead of lip-syncing to a pre-recorded soundtrack, the actors and actresses are singing it live to film. In the filming, each actor is fitted with a tiny ear piece through which they can hear a pianist who is playing the score. The pianist allows the actor to set the tempo of the music – to ebb and flow with the emotion of their performance instead of sticking to a pre-recorded track. The impact on the performance will be stunning.

I’ll be honest. I’ve never taken some of these actors that seriously before: Anne Hathaway, and to a certain extent Hugh Jackman. If Hathaway pulls off “I Dreamed a Dream” the way it looks like she does in this trailer, she’s way more legit than I ever realized. I think this film could end up being something really special.

This is one of those stunning examples of how the Mission of God is so much bigger than the church. The folks involved in making this film are going to tell the gospel story and my guess is that most of them don’t even realize it. But, I have a feeling Tom Hooper knows. To pick this film as the follow up to The King’s Speech? Maybe there’s something deeper going on there. From the looks of this trailer, it’s going to be powerful. Granted, I made my living as a musician for much of my life. But anytime a trailer can make you weep, I think it’s safe to anticipated that we might be dealing with something very special.

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About Tim Suttle

Tim Suttle is a pastor, writer, and musician. He is the author of several books: Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), and An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade Books, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals. Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. He has planted three successful churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • Aaron Scott

    Watch Rachel Getting Married. It should fix your Anne Hathaway concerns. And Jackman is a better stage actor than film actor, so I think this is a good fit for him. I am looking forward to this though. I think it will be really good.

  • http://yeswesam.wordpress.com Sam

    I’m saddened by the focus on the A-list Hollywood celebrities and no mention of Samantha Barks, the London actress who is playing Eponine. Considering that she will be singing the show’s iconic song “On My Own”, I guarantee this film will make her a household name in the movie industry.

    That said, I’m worried that I’m going to embarrass myself by crying in the theater. But that’s not guaranteed… There’s a good chance I’ll get kicked out for singing along with the movie before that happens.

  • Lisa

    I’ve always maintained that Les Mis is about grace’s triumph over judgment.

  • Tim Suttle

    Good word Sam! I think you are right.

  • Chelsea

    Wait…you have trouble taking HUGH JACKMAN seriously? The man’s been in professional theater productions- he was awarded a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance in A Boy From Oz- and he’s pretty consistently shown throughout his career that he’s a strong actor on screen as well…

    • Tim Suttle

      Yeah, it may not be fair. It’s to do with the romantic comedies: Kate & Leopold, Someone like you…

  • Nathan

    Wow, that’s exciting to know that they’re recording their songs on set live! Rex Harrison did that for My Fair Lady because he never sang the songs the same way twice (http://www.reelclassics.com/Musicals/Fairlady/fairlady.htm), and the effect is wonderful in his case. I can only imagine an entire musical with songs done this way. It will be powerful.

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  • Felipé

    Hoo even a remake of films and French stories. (34 now V2012=35)
    Just reading a book they understood a whole country :)


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