The Premiere of the Les Misérables film took place at The State Theatre, Sydney last night (Friday December 21st). Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe walked a red carpet that stretched the length of Pitt Street Mall, the longest ever in Australian film history. The epic musical signals the first time the actors have appeared together on the big screen.
As the celebrities started to arrive, Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng walked ahead of Jackie Weaver, who stopped to talk to us.
We asked her about whether she found any difference between the films she has made in the US and those she has made in Australia (like Animal Kingdom)?
Jackie: Because I’ve mostly done independent films in America there’s not much difference at all. There’s a tight budget. I love film crews; film crews are the same all over the world really.
Brigitte: Are you looking forward to see the film (Les Mis’)?
Jackie: I can’t wait, yes.
Brigitte: What do you think about Jackman and Crowe coming to the big screen together?
Jackie: Oh, I love them both. I think they’re going to be fabulous, but I did see the stage show about 20 times, so I’m really looking forward to it.
Jackman and Crowe walked the carpet together, spending time chatting with fans along the way. They addressed the crowd from the stage:
Crowe: I used to busk on Pitt Street.
Jackman: Did you? (To Crowe).
Crowe: About 1986, ’87’.
Jackman: How did you go?
Crowe: I made my living mate. (laughs all round).
Kerri-Anne Kennerley hosted the black-tie event and asked the pair about their roles in the film:
Jackman: Physically we had an opportunity to show things on film that you can’t necessarily on stage. So we went for it. So every day was a challenge physically and emotionally.
Crowe: The discipline required in keeping your voice in singing shape when (you may be singing for between) 12 and 18 hours (a day). You’re also doing it with Tom Hooper, and Tom is one of the greediest filmmakers I’ve ever experienced!
Jackman: He’s actually shooting parts of Les Mis’ right now. He’s got his phone. He’s tweaking. Right now.
(Tom Hooper has in fact just finished talking to us on the red carpet!)
Kennerley: Did you ever have a moment that you’ve gone: what the heck have I let myself in for?
Jackman: I got to rehearsal about 2 days before Russell got there and it was dawning on me what we were doing. And we’d been mates for a long time, and he just pulled me aside and said ‘how’s it going?’ and I said, ‘I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew here, and he just put his hand on my shoulder and just said ‘you’ve got it mate you’ve got it.’
Crowe spoke about the commitment and camaraderie between all the actors on set and in particular about Jackman:
Crowe: The thing I can tell you about Hugh is that it used to calm me down knowing that I was worried about my responsibilities and looking over at him and the grace (with which) he was handling his (was inspiring)……The leadership he showed on set, the artistry he showed on set, and the grace was just a very impressive thing.
Hugh Jackman then spoke about Russell Crowe organising soirees and parties to boost morale amongst the ensemble:
Jackman: If you guys ever get invited to Russell’s- bring a song with you- that’s mandatory!
They spoke about the fact that in the movie the actors recorded live singing, rather than relying on lip-syncing their songs. The result is a performance filled with emotion, as the actors are more able to inhabit the moment and concentrate on their acting.
Crowe: The (way the) movie (is shot) allows for the detail that Victor Hugo was talking about. (In his book: Les Misérables).
Jackman: It was the greatest freedom and the great gift that Tom (the Director) gave us.
They both praised Academy Award®-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), and Jackman called him a visionary filmmaker, who has revolutionized the movie musical.
We were fortunate enough to chat to Tom Hooper on the red carpet. He said he tries “to work with actors who bring a lot to the table, and actors like Russell (Crowe) are real partners in storytelling.” He went on to tell us that Russell contributed great ideas, like the one he suggested in a scene with Gavroche (played by 12 year old Daniel Huttlestone). Hooper likes “very intelligent, inquisitive actors who are trying to make the storytelling better and take responsibility not just for the storytelling but also for their performance. (Crowe) did both.”
Brigitte: What is it about the story of Les Mis’ that first captivated you?
Tom Hooper: I think it’s the extraordinary emotions the film provokes. I mean when I saw the musical and Valjean is dying at the end, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that one day my father is going to die, and that made me cry, and it seems that so many people are getting moved by this, and they make those connections. When they’re a parent they think of their kids and it makes them cry; if they are younger they think about their parents and that makes them cry. There’s something; it’s a very moving story about the power of love to transform our lives. If you look at the sacrifices the character’s make in the name of love, I think that’s why we connect and that’s why we have an amazing reaction to the story.
Brigitte: It’s certainly had a huge impact around the world, so congratulations, and thanks.
Tom went on to tell us that he aimed to protect the purest long-term Les Misérables stage fan, but at the same time he wanted to bring the story to the person who traditionally hated ‘musicals.’ He wanted to “break them open” to the musical movie form. He spoke about a recent interaction he had with an ex US Marine who “wept like a child throughout the film,” and told Tom that as soon as he left the cinema he gathered up his family to tell them how much they meant to him.
We also spoke to Sir Cameron MacIntosh, who brought Les Misérables to theatres, and has also produced the film adaptation. He told us that Australians have loved Les Misérables since the early days, when it came to the Sydney stage twelve months after its conception in London.
Brigitte: You have brought this story to the world, and now to an even greater audience; the film has had such a positive response and is tipped for an Oscar. How does that make you feel?
Sir Cameron MacIntosh: Thrilled. I’m looking forward to next year, to casting a whole new cast, and to bringing the new 25th anniversary show back to the Australian stage.
Sir Cameron then joined Tom Hooper onstage for a final chat, before they disappeared into The State Theatre for the much-anticipated Premiere. The film has been received extremely well at Premieres all around the world. Applause during the screening has often been reported, showing the audience’s enthusiasm for this new style of musical.
Les Misérables is in cinemas Boxing Day. It promises to be a memorable experience, with Oscar predictions for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway). The film has also been nominated for numerous other awards, including 4 Golden Globes: one for Jackman (Best Actor), Best Supporting Actress (Hathaway), Best Picture and Best Original Song. Jackman and Crowe’s performances are rated as nothing short of amazing, and it was very exciting to see them celebrate their collaboration last night.
Category: Glossy News