Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Can You Hear the Big Star, Celebrity Actors Sing?
Last night, Universal Studios released their first official trailer for the upcoming theatrical version of the Broadway smash "Les Miserables" online.
Logline: "Les Miserables" is a musical adaptation based on Victor Hugo's classic novel set in 19th-century France, in which a paroled prisoner named Jean Valjean seeks redemption.
"Les Miz" carries a special place in my heart as it is not only my 3rd favorite musical of all-time ("Assassins" & "Ragtime" trump it) but it is the first musical I ever saw live on Broadway in New York back in August 1992, which is why this movie is my most anticipated film of 2012 (20 years later). I consider the music and lyrics by the team Schonberg & Kretzmer flawless and I'm sure any non-musical theatre lover would still recognize the plays standout hit, "On My Own" sung by relative unknown Samantha Barks as Eponine in the film, but I think this is a solid choice as Samantha played the same part in "Les Miserables in Concert: 25th Anniversary"
But the other stars of the film will not be so unfamiliar. Playing the lead of Jean Val Jean is none other than Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, who has not only been on Broadway multiple times and even starred in a musical on Broadway ("The Boy From Oz") but showed his singing chops to the world when hosting the Academy Awards, which, ironically, is also where Anne Hathaway showed her outer voice talents, who will be playing the intrical part of Fantine and who is the star of the new trailer. I have to say that with roles like Catwoman and Fantine, I have a feeling 2012 will be the year of the Hathaway.
The cast of the film version of "Les Miz" also has "Mama Mia" triple-threat Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Russell Crowe as Javert (this one scares me a little as I don't think I've ever heard him sing and he can't fake his way through "Stars") and then Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardier's, who are two of my favorite characters and the perfect choices for these roles, and just so happen to have been in a musical together in the recent past: "Sweeney Todd". Cohen showed he could hold a note, while Carter's singing was less than desirable but the great thing about the Thenardier's is that you don't have to be great singers. It does help, but the flamboyancy of the parts would allow any actors to get away with "character singing". And I must also add that I harbor a little jealousy towards Cohen because he will be playing the role I've dreamed in days gone by. Although I've squashed my acting bug long ago, my desire to play Master Thernardier on stage is a lot like the cockroach from "Wall-E". But that is one for the bucket list.
So here it is in all its amazing glory:
I do have to also add that Colm Wilkinson, Broadway's original Jean Val Jean, has a small role as the Bishop of Digne (near the beginning of the film and ironically only interacts with Jean Val Jean). Some fanatics may complain about Hugh being cast over Colm, but I just want to say this - it's been over 25 years since he originated the role. Colm's a bit too old to be playing the part. Remember "Rent - The Movie"? 'Nough said.
BORN IN BLOOD
Born in Blood by Kate Paulk. $1.99 from Smashwords.com
Vlad Dracul, known later in life as Vlad the Impaler, suffered more than any should at the hands of Mehmed, son of Sultan Murad. Of all the pain and indignities brought upon him at the behest of the future ruler of the Ottoman Empire, the curse was the worst. All the young Vlad can do is try to survive and plot his vengeance.