Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Kruss, Dec 24, 2012.
Maybe they can get Kristin Chenowith to reprise her role as Glinda. The woman doesn't age!
I can return to the thread now because I finally saw it today. I loved it! I agree that Russell Crowe isn't a singer, but I thought he did a good job in the acting department. Everyone else was stellar IMO. Anne Hathaway's Fantine absolutely broke my heart (in the best way possible). I don't think that she overacted at all.
I adore the stage version, the 10th Anniversary and (except for the awful JoBro) the 25th Anniversary. However, a stage production can't show the grit and grime of the story in the way a visual movie can. I think this raw storytelling brought so much to the story. I really enjoy both stage and movie now, with no comparisons between them.
At the end, being a huge Eponine fan, I was surprised she wasn't with Fantine here. I always thought that Eponine showed up at the end on stage as a representative of the one whose only love was Marius (as a counterpart to Fantine whose only love was Cosette). However, the more I think of it, I think this movie ending is better. It makes so much more sense. And, given that this story is about redemption (as much as other themes), having the Bishop there was a perfect completion of the redemption angle for me.
And crying? Oh boy, did I cry!! As in, gut-wrenching, teeth-baring, tears sliding down into my cleavage crying! I even started crying all over again during the credits. I love it when a movie does that for me.
Barbra Streisand is heading up a "Gypsy" remake with herself as Mama Rose, and she reportedly wants Lady Gaga to play Louise.
Back to Les Miserables, Oscar nominations are due this week, and IMDb has an interesting look at the projected favorites: http://www.imdb.com/list/--Aj0TA7c14/.
Into the Woods (which is probably my all-time favorite musical) is also in the pipeline with Rob Marshall directing. No word on casting yet, but they were hoping to get Meryl Streep (isn't everyone ).
Jackman's biggest stage cred is really playing another Aussie, Peter Allen in "The Boy From Oz," where the arrangements were lowered from Allen's original key to something better suited to Jackman's range. The other big musical parts he played on stage were baritone roles (in "Oklahoma" in the West End and a concert version of "Carousel"). His vocal range is not that of a high tenor, which is what this role requires. As to his acting, I thought his acting and comprehension of the character were good. But when the entire libretto is sung-through, I don't think that is enough. This is a 60+ MILLION dollar production, not bad community theater.
They would have had to buy out Crowe from his contract, plus it would have been horrible publicity. So I seriously doubt that even if they realized Russell Crowe was not the right actor as Javert that they would have gone to the expense to recast the role.
As for other musicals in the pipe, Rob Marshall, the director of "Chicago" and "Nine" has a version of Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" reportedly in the works. Remakes of both "Gypsy" and "Damn Yankees" have been in development hell for ages, and this summer there was a rumor that George C. Wolff was going to direct a movie version of "In the Heights" which won the Tony for Best Musical several years ago, however that seems in limbo as well since Universal put the picture in turn-around.
This is my favorite number from the film: Redmayne's Empty Chairs.
These two are good too : Hatheway's I Dream A Dream, Barks' On My Own.
Todd skated to it in a show called "Skaters' Tribute to Broadway" in October 1998. I *think*the show was aired on A&E. I seem to recall that Viktor Petrenko skated to it as well in COI (?), and maybe in a pro or pro/am comp?
Haven't seen the movie version of "Les Mis" yet, but hope to get to see it within a few days.
Into the Woods is a brilliant musical, but I wonder if it will be a big challenge to adapt it to screen-how could they have a narrator without using voice-over? Perhaps they will just use voice-over, but that often comes off as cheesy.
I've been listening to the soundtrack, and it basically confirms what I already knew from the trailers: Russell Crowe absolutely cannot sing, and it is unacceptable for him to have been cast as Javert.
Eddie Redmayne doesn't have the powerhouse voice of Michael Ball, but he has a nice tone and is worlds better than Nick Jonas. One valid interpretation of Marius, when he sings Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, is a young man still shell-shocked and fragile. Redmayne's version expresses that very well.
I prefer the great stage versions of I Dreamed a Dream when Fantine is despondent but not yet on her death bed--she still has some fight in her. But in the movie, they moved the song so that Fantine is inches from death. So Hathaway's version makes sense. (Side note: Hathaway's technique is generally fine, but her running scale in IDAD is a textbook example of poor technique. I'm shocked her vocal teachers didn't correct that before filming.)
But I can see no justification for Russell Crowe's "singing". His tone and diction are awful, and he sounds uncomfortable, unsure, and lacking command. It is everything Javert isn't.
That begs the question, why not lower the songs an octave to suit Jackman's voice? Jackman can sing--he's proven that many times. But like you said, this isn't his natural range. Valjean was originally written for a lower voice, but they raised it to fit Colm Wilkinson's natural range, so why not lower it back to the original?
Very good point. I have seen Les Mis on Broadway twice. Once with a Valjean with a deeper voice. He hd no problem, because they did exactly what you suggest. They made it work with his range.
Here's a theater critic's take on the film version of Les Miserables:
From the article:
Hugh Jackman reminds me of Garry Morris who played Valjean on Broadway, I believe after Colm Wilkinson. He is also on the Symphonic Recording.
Not saying they sound exactly alike-but that is who I thought of.
*Runs to hunt them down*
The octave for Enjolras was also changed from the 10th anniversary concert (Michael Maguire, a high bass who over the yeas has become a mid-bass) to the 25th (Ramin Karimloo, a tenor), and both sounded terrific and looked totally comfortable. But imagine if Maguire had to sing higher and Karimloo had to sing lower. What a disaster that would have been!
So why didn't Jackman demand that they do that? Singing higher than one's natural range for an extended period of time is bad for the vocal cords too.
This is my favorite Jackman performance. I love the low notes he hits at 2:10 and 2:40. Also notice that his final note in the song is at the border of his falsetto, and that's around the lowest note in Bring Him Home when sung by a mid to high tenor.
I really think there may be something to the "conspiracy theory" that they made him sing worse than his potential to compensate for Russell Crowe's ineptitude.
Right, because directors of big-budget prestige projects are known for deliberately coaxing substandard performances out of their big-name stars.
(I'm not counting George Lucas.)
He may have tried. But, since most of the "popular"performances of Valjean have been tenors, maybe the decision was to keep it that way. Dumb, I think.
Another possibility, not mutually exclusive of the "conspiracy theory": Certain conditions aren't conducive to the voice. Air temperature, air humidity, time of day, tiredness level, etc. all affect singers. Doing take after take, as is common in films, is terrible for the voice. Doing that day after day takes a serious toll.
I don't know what order the scenes were shot in, but it's more than plausible that Jackman's voice was wiped out by the end of shooting or by the umpteenth consecutive take, especially considering that he's singing above his natural range. I noticed Samantha Barks' voice also wasn't as resonant as I know she's capable of.
If Tom Hooper didn't take measures to help the singers (air quality, filming schedule, rest periods, etc.), then that was reckless.
Emmy Rossum is (somewhat) capable of singing better than she did in Phantom, and they pre-recorded it in a studio. There's a theory that Schumacher requested that she sing "young" and it got overdone. Her "Think of Me" is almost facepalm-inducing. There NO way anyone could have heard her at the edge of the stage, nevertheless in the back of an opera house.
She was also only 16 or 17 at the time. Her voice has improved since. I think she was just too young and under-trained to handle a part like Christine, and I don't think they got her the training she needed. She's a very good actress and quite a good singer - just not for that role at that time. They wasted her, IMO.
I was disappointed as well.
I liked Hugh but Bring him home didn't measure up to Gary Morris for me and several others. However I liked him elsewhere.
Russell was terrible and all the tension was gone in the scenes with Valjean because of it. The fact that the musical was written as different voice types is no accident and that Javert has to be a strong singer is important. Also think Russel's weakest moment was the scene where he jumped. I didn't feel his inner conflict or turmoil at all. I still remember that scene from the play when I first saw it and that was years ago. And it was and still is an amazing moment. Crowe is an amazing actor but I think he was so hampered by the task of singing beyond his abilities that a lot of his character work was negligible.
I absolutely loathed Amanda Seyfried. I never saw Mama Mia but I have never been a fan of hers so I might be biased. But I had heard she could sing but other than Crowe I thought she was the weakest. I will give her props for those final super high note though. Also never liked Cosette as a grown up. Wished Marius had of chosen Eponine.
Thought the young guys were terrific. Enjorlas and Marius. Empty chairs was probably the best song in the movie for me. To me that was an example of allowing the emotion but not letting it hamper the vocals or to become too self indulgent. I like many others agree that the director allowing the actors to get to emotional with the songs was a huge flaw. if it impedes the telling of the story it is wrong. The audience is supposed to feel the great emotion and not the actor. They use their emotion as a vehicle to bring their point across. but if the actor is emotionally overwrought and you can't understand them then they are no longer telling the story and they are playing the mood. As a great acting teacher told me what is mood spelled backwards?
Also not sure why if the story is set in France they use English accents in the singing. Nitpicky but I thought they could have been dropped for this film. I know it originated in London, hence the accents there but it kind of bugged. especially Gavroche. it seemed out of place.
I also agree about all the close-ups being a waste of film sets and scenery. I did like On my Own though. There is a great part in the extra features in the Singin in the Rain 50th anniversary about how brilliant Gene Kelly was at directing musicals for film. How he used the entire set and saw it as a delicious advantage and a way to make a musical on film its own entity outside of theatre musicals.
i have not seen the film- but listening to the links- redmayne is AMAZING- wow!! hathaway was just ok- maybe the visual helps sell it a bit more.... on my own is well done too- i love that song =)
i never go to the movies- maybe this one will get me out
For me that was the most disappointing part of the movie. He was too much in the throat and needed to be more in the head voice. But otherwise I thought he was very good.
And Rusty was just pretty bad casting. Didn't suit the role at all.
However I did like it overall very much. Thought Empty Chairs was probably the highlight. And I really liked Eponine's On My Own - my favourite song in the whole musical.
Another, less sympathetic, feminist review
I just saw it - loved Barks' On My Own, loved her voice the most. Also liked Redmayne. I thought Crowes acting was even worse than his singing. He is fabulous with the language, so for me, I could live with the songs because he got the tempo and inflection right. But geez, he had the stone facial expressions to match the Twilight chick who can't act either. Hugh acted circles around Russell IMO. Thought Cohen was fab. Too bad about Crowe, but otherwise very enjoyable. Everyone else was good enough to make worthwhile.
from the article:
I felt absolutely ZERO sexual tension between Javert and Valjean. One dude can be obsessed with another dude without it being anything sexual.
This I agree with.
Here's a not too bad clip of Crowe singing on stage with Jackman. He sounded better here, probably because he was more relaxed in this type of environment and could bob up and down like a rock star. I think the move role constrained him and he wasn't comfortable with it.
What accent do you think they should have used?