Though there is still a good month before the theatrical release of Les Misérables on Dec. 25, promotion for the film has already exploded on television, billboards and the internet. Besides boasting an all-star cast and the A-grade director Tom Hooper, Les Misérables will feature live singing from all its the actors. That is, instead of relying on the traditional Hollywood practice of doing studio recordings prior to shooting, audio and video has been shot simeutaneously. Turns out liberty, equality and fraternity are not the only revolutionary ideals the film champions!
But can the cast of Les Misérables sing? Though they hail from acting backgrounds ranging from stand-up comedy to film to theatre, and geographical backgrounds ranging from New Zealand to England to America, the verdict is a triumphant yes. See the breakdown below, in order of billing:
Hugh Jackman(Jean Valjean)
Jackman won a Tony for his performance as Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz. What more needs to be said? He has played Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard and Curly in the Royal National Theatre’s production of Oklahoma!. His musical talents came in handy once again when he hosted the 81st Annual Academy Awards, in which he and Anne Hathaway performed a Frost-Nixon themed duet.
Crowe, believe it or not, is the lead vocalist in an on-again-off-again band. Its name has undergone several variations including Roman Antix, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts and Russell Crowe & the Ordinary Fear of God. They have shows from time to time. He apparently also has a penchant for throwing sing-along parties.
Anne Hathaway (Fantine)
Hathaway’s singing career has roots that go further back than her professional acting one. Her soprano voice has graced many a stage, including Carnegie Hall as part of the 1999 All-Eastern United States High School Honors Chorus and the Paper Mill Playhouse of Millburn, New Jersey. Her pipes have made their way onto the silver screen in Ella Enchanted and onto the television screen in the 2010 episode of The Simpsons, “Once Upon a Time in Springfield.” Coincidentally, her mother played Fantine in the first national Broadway tour of Les Misérables.
Seyfried is no stranger to movie musicals, having previously starred as Sophie in the 2008 film version of Mamma Mia!. She has weaved her musicianship into her films Dear John and Red Riding Hood in the form of two singles, “Little House” and “L’il Red Riding Hood.” She is also an avid songwriter and guitar player outside of her acting career, according to this video released by Channing Tatum.
Eddie Redmayne (Marius)
Redmayne's acting resume is song-free thus far. However, he was part of the Eton College Choir prior to enrolling at Cambridge University. Some research-savvy fans have unearthed the Eton College Choir's rendition of Mendelssohn's "Ave Maria" featuring Redmayne as a soloist. Preppy pipes, indeed.
Helena Bonham Carter (Madame Thénardier)
Carter is less experienced at singing professionally compared to the rest of the cast. Even so, she played Mrs. Lovett in Tim Burton’s movie musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street alongside Les Mis co-star Sacha Baron Cohen.
Sacha Baron Cohen (Thénardier)
Cohen of Borat fame does not have an extensive singing resume, although it has been growing exponentially in the last few years. He played Pirelli in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and is slated to play Freddie Mercury in a Queen biopic.
Samantha Barks (Éponine)
Barks’ vocal prowess needs no introduction. After participating in the 2008 television talent show I’d Do Anything, she went on to play Éponine in both the London production and the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Misérables.
Tveit is a newcomer in the film industry but an old-timer to the stage. He originated the roles of Gabe in Next to Normal and Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can, both of which were Broadway shows bobbling with Tony award nods.