The more I see from Tom Hooper's follow up to his Oscar Winning The King's Speech, the more probable it becomes that he's assured of another best pic/best director nomination.
Even if you despise such musical theatre pieces, it can't be argued that his take on the performance of this piece is unique. In this behind-the-scenes clip, we hear from the cast (Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe, and relative newcomer Samantha Barks), as well as Hooper himself, as they detail a key element of the way they're producing this film.
When the last trailer hit, the haunting performance of Hathaway immediately captivated with its immediacy. It seems this is a template for the entire show, as they're dropping the normal route (record months before, lipsync to playback) in favour of doing on set, take-to-take performances.
This allows the actors to be more free with tempo, as the orchestrations would be done following the edited piece. On set, a kind of rehearsal pianist was there to keep things moving, but the actors were free to, well, act whilst singing.
Some of these clips, as brief as they are, already allude to the goosebump possibilities of this piece. The last time I can think that such a feet was accomplished was the death scene in Evita, where Madge and Jonathan Pryce sang "raw". That proved to be one of the most powerful moments in that film, and bodes extremely well for Hooper's decision. Kudos to both the performers that seem capable of living up to such challenges, and take a moment to think of the poor sound engineers and location recordists who now have an even tougher challenge on set.
Check the video below for more details on the process, including some raw recordings of the artists at work. At least at this stage, we can hear that they're free of autotune tweaking, simply conveying the raw emotion of their characters without too much gloss.
Les Misérables opens in theatres in December, just in time to garner a whack of Oscar nominations