Celebrate the December 25th release of Universal’s movie musical epic “Les Misérables” with 12 days of interviews and inside peeks at the film’s production with director Tom Hooper, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and more of the cast.
Fans of “Les Misérables” and the musical’s famous soundtrack will notice something new when they see Tom Hooper’s move adaptation.
The song “Suddenly,” which is sung by Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) after rescuing young Cosette (Isabelle Allen) from the Thénardiers (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter), does not appear in any version of the popular stage musical, and was written specifically for the film. As Hooper explained during a recent interview, the song marks one of two epiphanies in the reformed convict’s life.
“The first epiphany, when he meets the bishop – he goes from this brutalized condition of being an ex-convict where he has huge anger against the world. And, through that contact with the bishop, he learns virtue, compassion and faith and starts a new life,” the director explained. “And then, when he meets little Cosette, he discovers love for the first time.”
Hooper continued, “Here’s this guy who’s late middle age, who’s never been loved or loved, [and] quite out of the blue experiences parental love for a child and is absolutely overwhelmed. It transforms his life, and he dedicates his life all based around the duty of caring for this child. I thought, in the musical, the first epiphany is crystal clear, but the second transformation is kind of in the subtext, it’s not completely clear.”
Eager to embellish one of the story’s most emotional moments, Hooper approached the men behind the original “Les Mis” music, composer Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyricist Alain Boubil. The end result was “Suddenly,” a song that not only expresses Valjean’s feelings for Cosette, but propels the second half of the film, in which he aggressively honors his commitment to protect her.
“He doesn’t just look after Cosette,” said Jackman. “He’s terrified. He’s full of love and anxiety like every parent. It’s a beautiful impulse, and [Tom] asked the guys to write a song. I think I’ll count it, definitely, as one of the great honors of my life to have these two incredible composers write a song with my voice in mind. I’ll never forget first singing it. I felt like I had been singing it my whole life.”
Also among Jackman’s list of “Les Mis” musical numbers are the solos “Bring Him Home,” “What Have I Done?” and “Who Am I?”
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