Two 'Les Miserables' TV Spots Sell the Musical's Sweep

Tuesday, 06 November 2012 13:33 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Two 'Les Miserables' TV Spots Sell the Musical's Sweep

Need an escape from the deluge of election-related articles, tweets, and general hysteria?  How about two new TV spots for Les Miserables, Tom Hooper's cinematic adaptation of the phenomenally popular Broadway musical, which is itself based on Victor Hugo's classic novel of injustice and compassion?

Having slid down the Oscar slide with his last film, The King's Speech, Hooper (also the director of The Damned United and HBO's John Adams) is going big for his follow up, which follows Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, a good and decent man, over the decades after he commits a perfectly understandable crime. It's a bigger story than that, obviously, with many a character enduring all manner of gross mistreatment, characters played by Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Bigness is the implicit subject in both of these TV spots, as both seek to capture the breadth of Les Miserables.  The first does so by being unusually long, clocking in at a minute and thirty seconds.  It's actually very similar to the first trailer, with Hathaway's Fantine singing "I Dreamed a Dream," but it incorporates new footage, most of which sells the sweeping scope of the story.  The second spot, with a normal thirty second length, includes many of the same footage and wastes no time announcing the film as an epic.

It's been well documented and much discussed at this point, but it is worth reiterating that Hooper employed an unconventional method for the actual musical numbers here.  Rather than having the actors lock down a track in a studio and then lip sync along to that on set, Hooper's approach found the production utilizing an on-set pianist and some covert earpieces for the actors so that they could record their songs live, varying the singing with each take.  Based on Hathaway's singing here, this approach would seem to have paid off quite well.

Les Miserables arrives in theaters nationwide on December 25th, and if you're looking for two and a half hours during which no one in your extended family is required to actually communicate on Christmas, this is probably your best bet.

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