Well... obviously. Les Mis is always better than an opera. I'm not bashing opera--I really like opera--but Les Mis is better than pretty much every other kind of musical entertainment, ever.
But if you've been hanging around this blog for any length of time, you already know that.
Yes, I'm dumping another load of movie stills on y'all again, if only because it's practically impossible for me to look at these without wanting to SHARE THEM WITH THE WORLD. So voila. More pictures from the movie for you to drool over-- and would you believe it, these are only a select few. I forced myself to just choose my favorites (and forced myself even harder not to just throw my arms wide and say ALL OF THEM ARE MY FAVORITES) so that reading this post doesn't take your entire computer time.
Well, actually, it might, depending on how long your computer time is, but I'll do my best not to keep you too long. First, let's gush over the poster that you may observe on your upper left. How gorgeous is that? I thought the one I had at the end of the last Les Mis picture-post was my favorite, but I've since changed my mind. This one is the best of the best. And it's a French poster to boot. Fitting, non?
On to the movie stills (which are in no order whatsoever, and which may contain comments of mine own writing that will spoil the story for you, so be forewarned and forearmed).
|"Let others rise to take our place until the earth is FREEEEEEEE!"|
At this time I do not choose to reveal to the public just how many pictures of Marius-on-a-horse that I have saved on the computer. You would probably laugh at me if you knew. But seriously, is this not the epitome of the whole do-you-hear-the-people-sing thing? He even LOOKS like he's singing. So does the horse, for that matter, or at least nodding along to the music, but that's beside the point.
|"Don't think about it, Marius, with all the years ahead of us... |
I will never go away and we will be together every day."
To be quite honest, I find this shot (presumably from "Every Day") about fifteen times cuter than the looking-through-the-bars bit in "A Heart Full of Love," and if you knew how much sighing I did over that teeny clip, that's saying a lot.
|"And none shall ever harm Cosette as long as I am living."|
|"You would live a hundred years if I could show you how. I won't desert you now."|
|"From the table in the corner they could see a world reborn."|
Cannot get over the extreme cuteness of this picture. I believe it's a publicity shot and not actually a still from the film, but I don't care. The look on her face of complete trust and adoration--YES. Some of the stage Cosettes, from what I've seen, appear indifferent to Valjean or even a wee bit afraid of him, but I like this portrayal much better. In the book she sees him as an angel that dropped from heaven (a metaphor that appears several times) and you can totally see that in this picture. Oh, and I like his coat. :D
|"He let me eat my fill. I had the lion's share.|
The silver in my hand cost twice what I had earned..."
So I saw THIS picture and went, "It's YOU!" and all but hugged the computer screen. Not at Hugh Jackman, silly, or Mademoiselle Baptistine for that matter. Nope, the affection was all directed at
the one and only Jean Valjean Bishop Myriel. I thoroughly enjoyed Earl Carpenter's take on the bishop in the 25th concert, but I think I can safely say that Colm Wilkinson will blow him out of the water. I cheated and read the entire script for the movie (hey, Universal Pictures made it available to the public! I couldn't resist!) and I promise I'll give nothing away, but I will just hint that the bishop has rather a bigger part in the movie than he did in the original stage production... and I'm as thrilled as could be. You will be, too, when you see what I mean.
By the by, I am really, really pleased with Valjean's convict look. I wish he had kept the beard for the later scenes, because I think it makes him look more like
the real Valjean Colm, but I've become reconciled to his appearance. What I'm not so sure about is his rendition of Who Am I? Watch some of it here and then let me know what you think, if you would be so kind.
|"And they rose with voices ringing, and I can hear them now,|
the very words that they had sung..."
The first picture I saw of Aaron Tveit as Enjolras was such a crushing disappointment that I was on the brink of refusing to have anything else to do with the movie. I still can't stand his hair. And I still wish his voice were
on the level of Ramin Karimloo a little stronger. But I no longer shudder at the idea of his playing Enjolras, and there are a multitude of reasons, but one of them is this picture. It's the look in his eyes. Think back a moment, if you will, and try and remember if Michael Maguire or Ramin Karimloo ever showed any signs of fear in their portrayals of Enjolras. To the best of my recollection, they didn't. They both acted the part of the all-fired, charismatic revolutionary who led a devoted band of followers to their deaths. Don't get me wrong, I'm quite certain Aaron Tveit's going to do that too. But I also think he's going to bring another dimension to the character, one of the scared little boy deep down inside Enjolras' shining-noble-I-will-defeat-everybody-and-bring-justice-to-the-world exterior. Even heroes have their moments of terror.
"And first of all," said Enjolras, "let us hoist the flag again!" He picked up the flag which had fallen just at his feet.
They heard from without the rattling of the ramrods in the muskets; the troops were reloading.
Enjolras continued: "Who is there here who has courage? who replants the flag on the barricade?"
Nobody answered. To mount the barricade at the moment when without doubt it was aimed at anew, was simple death. The bravest hesitates to sentence himself, Enjolras himself felt a shudder. He repeated:
"Nobody volunteers?"~Volume Four- Saint Denis, Book Fourteen-The Grandeurs of Despair, Chapter One- The Flag: First Act
|"I know this is no place for me. Still, I would rather be with you."|
The barricade is all I ever could have wished. A fellow Mizzer pointed out to me a while ago that they manage to make it look towering and exciting yet still so pitifully tiny in the grand scope of Paris and the mighty National Guard. The story of how the barricade was made is even better. I read this interview with Eddie Redmayne: "It came to building the barricade and there were 50 peasants, there were 30 students, and Tom Hooper had 5 camera men dressed up as peasants with the cameras wrapped up to camouflage them. He put 10 minutes worth of film on the camera and he was like, 'All right, build a barricade. Action!' We were like, 'What?' And suddenly pianos were falling from above, wardrobes were flying about. It was the most anarchic, sort of terrifying, adrenaline fueled 10 minutes." Which is exactly how the barricade was built in the book (minus the cameras &c.). Which is why Tom Hooper just went up about fifty points in my estimation.
I just love behind-the-scenes pictures, and this one is cute. :D Is that Marius with Eponine? Because it doesn't really look like him... plus, he wears a plaid waistcoat for the barricade scenes. I do appreciate how they actually put Eponine in boy's clothes for these scenes-- the trench coat and Gus Pike hat get the meaning across on stage, yes, but they aren't terribly believable. Especially not when she has shoulder-length hair tumbling out from under the cap. Hello?
|"...we may be easy pickings, but we've got some fight..."|
In all seriousness, though, I still haven't yet seen a Gavroche who was just right. I could be wrong about this one, of course... but I am never wrong. (Don't you just love how Princess Bride quotes fit every occasion?)
"Marius. Dude. If you want to hit the target, the water pistol has to go UP. It's physics."
Sorry. But that's what I think of every time I see this picture. :P
|"Please take this letter to Cosette and pray to God that she's still there..."|
|"Cosette... now I remember. Cosette... how can it be?"|
I can't emphasize enough how high my hopes are for Samantha Barks as Eponine. I'm almost afraid she's going to boot Lea Salonga off her pedestal as Best Eponine Ever in the History of Theater. Several aspects of Eponine's role have been slightly altered--for one thing, "On My Own" is sung in Act One, before "One Day More"--and one other big thing has been changed (to match what happened in the book...) and I'm throwing confetti because of it. (Hint, hint... just imagine "Little Fall of Rain" becoming even more heartbreaking, 'kay?) Oh, and do you want to see a wee clip of OMO? Of course you do.
|"Have you asked of yourselves, what's the price you might pay?|
Is it simply a game for rich young boys to play?"
"What a pity!" said Combeferre. "What a hideous thing these butcheries are! ...Enjolras, you are aiming at that sergeant, you are not looking at him. Just think that he is a charming young man; he is intrepid; you see that he is a thinker; these young artillery-men are well educated; he has a father, a mother, a family; his in love probably; he is at most twenty-five years old; he might be your brother."
"He is," said Enjolras.
"Yes," said Combeferre, "and mine also. Well, don't let us kill him."
"Let me alone. We must do what we must."
And a tear rolled slowly down Enjolras' marble cheek.
~Volume Five- Jean Valjean, Book One- War Between Four Walls, Chapter Eight- The Gunners Produce a Serious Impression
|"If I have to kill you here, I'll do what must be done!"|
I'm not quite sure how I feel about having a sort-of sword-fight in the Confrontation scene. I've never seen that song performed outside of the concerts, in which they don't do any physical fighting, but from what I've read this part is usually performed with a fistfight. Which I think just seems to fit the song better. However, though Valjean gives himself up to Javert in the book, there IS this little wee part:
There stood in the corner of the room an old iron bedstead in a dilapidated condition... Jean Valjean went to the bed, wrenched out the rickety head bar--a thing easy for muscles like his--in the twinkling of an eye, and with the bar in his clenched fist, looked at Javert. Javert recoiled towards the door. Jean Valjean, his iron bar in hand, walked slowly towards the bed of Fantine. On reaching it, he turned and said to Javert in a voice that could scarcely be heard:
"I advise you not to disturb me any more."~Volume One- Fantine, Book Eight- Counter-Stroke, Chapter Four- Authority Resumes Its Sway
|"Would you weep, Cosette, should Marius fall? Would you weep, Cosette? For me?"|
"Marius was a romantic stereotype," Eddie Redmayne said in a fantastic interview for Vogue. (go read it!) "So we went back to the book and found all these moments that showed he was more than just a guy running down the street singing about his love." While the whole "guy running down the street singing about his love" thing is really more West Side Story than Les Mis, I am very pleased that the movie's interpretation of Marius seems to be a blend of his idealistic puppy-love and his firebrand patriotism. Hold your ears, Puddle, for I am about to commit heresy, but I think Michael Ball didn't quite convey everything about Marius' character. His interpretation in the 10th concert shows Marius' heart-full-of-love side, but not as much of his begone-or-I'll-blow-up-the-barricade side. This is mostly the producers' fault, I think, for not including "The Second Attack"--that is, Marius' blow-up-the-barricade moments DO occur in the musical, just not in the concerts--but I'm glad to see that the book's Marius is going to get better treatment from the director in the movie. And the heart full of love will most certainly not be neglected-- go here to melt into a puddle (aka watch a bit of the Cosette and Marius scene).
(The opinions expressed above do not reflect any kind of negative opinion whatsoever about Michael Ball, his acting ability, his voice, et cetera and should not be taken as such. Furthermore, Eddie Redmayne publicly stated that he considers Michael Ball the ultimate Marius. So there, Marilla. :D)
I am still not overly thrilled with Russell Crowe's voice. (There. I said it.) I agree with Petie that he's going to make an awesome Javert nonetheless (the nonetheless is mine, not hers), and with Rachel that perhaps the clipped, restrained way of singing is actually better for a man such as Javert, but I'm still kind of wishing that Norm Lewis could have been hired to dub his voice. Because that would have been phenomenal. Take a look at this scene and tell me what you think. My first reaction was "How dare they change the lyrics?????" but on the whole it's quite good, even with the messed-up words. My approval has been given.
Also, is it just me or does Russell Crowe actually kinda look like Philip Quast? Minus the beard, of course. And I'm not so thrilled with his hat... I prefer the classical bicorn but you can't have everything. The coat is fabulous. We will leave it at that.
Eighteen days more until the public gets to see it! On a scale of Javert-at-Fantine's-arrest to Marius-at-the-barricades, how excited are you?