UK & World News

  • 6 December 2012, 4:43

Les Miserables Has World Premiere In London

Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and the rest of the cast of Les Miserables attended the world premiere of Tom Hooper's new musical in London's Leicester Square.

Crowe told Sky News it had been a unique experience which he will never forget.

"It was a profound experience, fundamentally difficult....where I was required to access my soul in an intense, yet pleasurable way," he said.

Crowe plays Inspector Javert in the musical based on Victor Hugo's book and set at the time of the French revolution.

Since the musical was first shown on the West End it has been seen by more than 60 million people and it is the longest running musical on the West End, the second-longest running musical in the world.

Its original producer, Cameron Mackintosh, who also produced the film, says he is deeply proud of the result.

"The musical opened 27 years ago in London and Les Mis lives on in a new reincarnation. It is a timeless masterpiece for all generations," he said.

Les Miserables follows the trials of ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, who is hunted for decades by ruthless policeman Javert after breaking the terms of his parole.

Both Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, who star as Valjean and tragic heroine Fantine, underwent physical transformations for the film - losing weight and hair for the parts.

Jackman said he was "challenged emotionally, physically and was exhausting and intense".

Hathaway says being cast as Fantine was her "dream" job.

Tom Hooper, the director who won an Oscar for the hugely successful King's Speech, broke the mould for this movie asking the actors to sing live.

They all wore earpieces during filming and sang to a live piano accompaniment which they agreed gave them much more freedom to express themselves.

British actor Eddie Redmayne said it made the finished product infinitely better.

"I haven't sung for 10 years so it was a question of dusting off the vocals," he said. "I couldn't imagine not singing live as it gave the cast time to react to each other?. After 25 takes though, my vocals were fairly caned."

Initial screenings of the film have been very positive and it is being tipped for success at both the box office and in the awards.

The movie opens in the UK on January 11.