It has taken a remarkable 27 years for the beloved musical Les Miserables to arrive in movie theatres, but according to the unprecedented early buzz and ravenous critical reception the film is earning this has been a 27-year wait worth every second. Universal arranged two small screenings of the film this past Friday: one at Alice Tully Hall in New York, and one for about 100 people at the 1000-seat Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills. To say the screenings went over well would be the understatement of the century — staff at both of these theatres said they’ve never heard applause that loud and lasting that long following any movie screening. Ever.
In an interview with Pete Hammond of Deadline Hollywood, director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) said: “I finished it at 2AM yesterday and was already screening it today at Alice Tully Hall. I don’t think I’ve ever been more exhausted. But it’s been an extraordinary response. I think they broke into applause 14 or 15 times during the film. I remember the audience breaking into applause near the end of ‘The King’s Speech’ but this is taking that to a new level. Towards the end of this film today this weird thing happened like a rustling kind of sound. For a minute I freaked out wondering what’s that odd sound on the soundtrack. I looked around and realized it’s the sound of people crying en masse. Rather extrarodinary for me,” he said.
In his review for Deadline Hollywood Hammond writes, “It is certainly an instant major contender, a thrilling cinematic realization of the legendary musical that has taken 27 years to reach the screen.” Immediately following the two screenings Hammond interviewed both director Tom Hooper and the film’s star Hugh Jackman (who is almost guaranteed to walk away with an Oscar for his performance). It is a fascinating read, and is full of incredible tidbits including the story of how and why Tom wanted Hugh’s friends and family “to worry about him”, how and why the singing was recorded live with the performances, and the extraordinary things that can happen when one steps outside of their comfort zone to take life-changing risks.
You can read the interview in full by visiting Deadline.com. Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables opens in North America on Christmas Day. To enter the world of Les Miserables be sure to visit LesMiserablesFilm.com.