12 Days of ‘Misérables’: Cast Transformations

Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman in "Les Misérables" (Photo: Universal)

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.

There is no shortage of reasons to be impressed by the upcoming movie adaptation of “Les Misérables.”

From the singing and acting to the costumes and epic set designs, “Les Mis” was built to dazzle and audiences will surely take notice. One aspect of the production that simply cannot be overlooked is the amazing transformation of its cast from the most beautiful people in Hollywood to the poor and unkempt citizens of 19th century France.

As Jean Valjean, Hugh Jackman had to evolve from emaciated Toulan prison inmate to well-to-do factory owner. According to the actor, the physical transformation is most important so it’s conceivable that Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe), the lawmen who is hunting Valjean for breaking parole, doesn’t recognize him when they encounter each other 8 years after the convict’s release.

Click here to watch ‘Les Mis’ clips and behind-the-scenes videos

Tom [Hooper] said, ‘I want to make you unrecognizable. And if people in your life aren’t saying that you’re sick, something’s wrong – then you haven’t gone far enough,’” Jackman said during a press day interview. “I did lose a lot of weight, and then had the joy of putting weight on, which was a 30-pound journey from the beginning. But I have to say, all that pales in comparison to what [Anne Hathaway] next to me did, because at least I had time to prepare and do that. Annie was doing it over 14 days. I think you lost about 300 pounds in 14 days?”

In fact, Hathaway lost 25 pounds in 14 days to play poverty-stricken factory worker Fantine, and reportedly did so on a mixture of exercise, straight starvation and a diet of oatmeal paste. Even still, it was Anne’s willingness to chop her long brunette locks for the role that has earned the most attention.

“I offered Tom the option of cutting my hair,” she explained. “It was always something that I kind of knew in the back of my mind that I’d be willing to do for a character if it was ever the right thing to do. So, when I got cast and I read the script and I knew they were keeping the hair cutting in, and then I read the book and it’s such a devastating scene in the book, I thought doing it for real might raise the stakes a bit for the character. I thought if it was a painful experience watching her haircut, then watching her teeth getting pulled would be really painful and then, of course, when she becomes a prostitute…”

Despite the drastic change, Hathaway says she doesn’t regret it. Most of the time.

“I’m only sorry when I get to spend time with Amanda Seyfried, whose hair is so beautiful,” Anne quipped before turning to British co-star Samantha Barks, who plays Éponine. “Yes, Sam, you’re lovely too.”

“She’s got miracle hair!” Barks quickly agreed.

Jackman also got to chop his locks for the role of Valjean, but as the Aussie actor explained, he was not as eager as Hathaway to have a stylist snip his scalp.

Click here to watch more ‘Les Mis’ clips and behind-the-scenes videos

“I had my hair cut off with those gashes in it,” he said of the early prison Valjean. “And Annie had been talking about cutting her hair, and she came in for the consultation with Tom. And I remember Annie saying, ‘Now, by the way, if you end up cutting my scalp and there’s blood – fantastic, let’s go for it.’”

Hugh continued: “And I put up my hand and said, ‘For the record, I would like makeup. Fake scars, please.’”


The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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