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.
Of all the famous lines from “Les Mis,” few are as powerful and relevant to the deeply moving musical than the phrase, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”
The notable song lyric appears in both the stage musical and the 1862 Victor Hugo novel on which it is based. During press day interviews with the cast of Universal’s film adaptation, which opens tomorrow, each actor revealed the ways this idea speaks to them.
Amanda Seyfried: “It’s the most profound thing I think that you could ever hear someone say, and for it to be a song, it is just that much more powerful. It’s what we’re left with at the end, and I think that’s why ‘Les Mis’ has been such a phenomenon for so many years.”
Samantha Barks: “For my character, I felt that kind of growing up in a world of the Thénardiers, however hilarious they are, they’re very twisted, dark people. And, so, for a character like Éponine, who’s never really experienced good people, when she meets someone like Marius who is — he’s a good man. I think love has actually redeemed her. Although her ending is tragic, she does do the right thing.”
Eddie Redmayne: “I felt a sense, as well, relating it to Claude-Michel [Schönberg]’s score, that the tune that Colm Wilkinson as the bishop sings to Jean Valjean — at that moment in which God is placed into Jean Valjean’s life for the first time, how that recapitulates throughout the piece. I think it is something that Tom was very conscious about, and so in some ways Claude-Michel and Alain [Boubil] and Herbie [Kretzmer], in the last moments of the film, conclude with something that they’ve woven throughout the entire piece.”
Hugh Jackman: “I think you’ve hit on the most powerful line of the musical. Of course, for Victor Hugo, there’s a large comment in the book about the church at the time — made him very unpopular when he wrote it. [It’s] the philosophy that you don’t need to go to the top of a mountain in Tibet to find self-realization. You don’t need to do great things, or listen to spiritual leaders, or whatever it is. The first thing that you have to do is be present, know what you stand for in life, and face what is in front of you.”
Anne Hathaway: “I think it’s the answer to the question that Jean Valjean asks in the prologue: ‘What spirit comes to move my life?’ And he spends the rest of the film answering that question.”
Before elaborating on her thought, Hathaway stopped for a “brief sidebar” and placed her hand on Jackman’s hand.
“I just want to make sure that I impress upon everyone in this room — I don’t want you to walk out of here impressed by Hugh Jackman,” she said as Hugh laughs. “Because we all know he’s a miracle. And we all know that he can get up and make friends with everyone and be totally friendly, and sometimes I think that keeps people from seeing his genius as an actor. And I just want to say that the reason that that line resonates with you is because we’ve witnessed it in his performance the entire time.”
She continued, “What he does in this film is inspiring and we were all inspired by him. He was absolutely our leader. So, I just don’t want his nice guy thing to distract you from the fact that he is deep, serious and profoundly gifted actor.”
“Here, here!” announced Redmayne as the cast applauded a bashful Jackman.
“I’ll shut up, then,” Hugh quipped.
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