Ah, the movie version of “Les Miserables.” Fewer topics can spark a more spirited discussion among fans of the title than the 2012 big-screen adaptation. Was Russell Crowe’s voice that of an infiltrating demon determined to ruin the “Les Miz” name? Or did his acting trump his thin vocals? Guest Beehive bloggers Patrick Brancato and Valerie Salcedo, members of the ensemble of the upcoming Fresno Grand Opera production of “Les Miserables,” took a backstage poll of cast members asking what they thought of the movie. Patrick explains:
This has been a controversial question for some people. A lot of people liked the movie while other die-hard theatergoers felt there was absolutely no comparison to the live show. Below are a few responses on what the ‘Les Miz’ cast thought. I believe you will be very interested to see what they had to say.
“I thought the movie was awful in regards to the casting. Les Miserables novelist Victor Hugo and composer Claude-Michel Schönberg were most likely rolling in their graves in disgust. The one thing I will give the movie credit for were the close ups. In my opinion this was a very effective technique used to getting the various emotions, songs and story across. The acting was great except for a few people and the singing had its moments. As much as everyone loved Anne Hathaway’s performance I strongly disagree and thought she wasn’t as good as everyone made her out to be. Her strong moments were her acting but definitely not her singing. Two other actors that were poorly cast were Russell Crowe as Javert and Amanda Seyfried as Cosette. All the characters in this movie were externally showing their emotions; except for Russell Crowe. Amanda Seyfried was a complete mess and can be considered the worst Cosette in the history of Les Miserable, right next to Nick Jonas as Marius in the Les Miserable twenty fifth anniversary concert that occurred a few years ago. If you don’t believe me go rewatch the 2013 Oscars. This movie was a huge disappointment in my opinion; which is why I shut it off half way through. Overall I felt it could have been better and truly believe that most people will agree that the live production gives the story more justice.”
“The movie was great in a sense that it really captured certain emotional moments in songs that might be hard to see from the balcony of a theatre. I liked how the music stayed true to the show despite some small cuts. I’m glad there were no songs made into dialogue like most musical movies.”
“I think that the movie was able to open up this amazing story to a whole new walk of people. The raw intensity of it was unlike anything I’d seen on stage. I do however wish that the audience had been able to hear the power of the entire cast on the large ensemble numbers as opposed to six people at a time that were surrounding the camera. Overall, I enjoyed it because I was excited to see the new faces that were introduced to the show because of the names in the movie.”
“I think the movie was a fantastic retelling of the show. As someone who has love the show for 20 years, the movie provides convenient access to the story and music that unfortunately the stage performance is limited. There were definitely some inappropriate casting choices, but I think the actors were great for those roles in that interpretation of the show. Theater goers should be prepared for a bigger and bolder interpretation when seeing the staged production.”
“The movie: Great sets, wonderful acting. The musical: wonderful singing.”
“I was glad to see one of my favorite shows on the big screen! Although it was a very different experience from seeing a stage production, I still thoroughly enjoyed most of the acting choices and the cast… especially Aaron Tveit.”
“I was visually stimulated throughout the picture, and enjoyed the raw emotion of the film. Prior to viewing the movie, I was excited about the live singing and felt that this would do the film justice.”
FUN FACTS BY VALERIE AND PATRICK! DID YOU KNOW???
Patrick: The touring cast members in the show used a much simpler barricade then we do in our production. Their barricade was just two set pieces that met at the center and conjoined as one, while ours is five different set pieces.
Valerie: It took me over an hour to try on all of my costumes. There are so many changes and small pieces to each costume. We even have to layer some of the costumes in order to make our changes much faster. There’s one instants where I literally have 15 seconds to change from one costume to the next.
Patrick: Eponine is STILL not here!!!
Valerie: Joseph Spieldenner who is performing the role of Grantaire is very protective over the two young boys who are playing the role of Gavroche. This is because in one of the touring shows he’s done, the boy playing Gavroche was climbing the barricade and was hit in the head with a rifle by one of the student Revolutionaries during the fight scene. Since then, he has never let Gavroche out of his sight.
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