NEW YORK (AP) — They've both played superheroes. They've both hosted the Oscars. But what unites "Les Miserables" co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway most is a deep, some might even say geeky love of musical theater.
Yes, Catwoman and Wolverine can sing.
Musical ardor does not always burnish the reputations of action stars. But in Tom Hooper's new film of the famed musical, Jackman, as Jean Valjean, and Hathaway, as the unfortunate Fantine, are finally exercising their musical chops on the big screen.
Jackman has made a home on Broadway and won Tony awards, while Hathaway's theater experience is more limited. Both dove into "Les Miserables" with zeal, considering it a chance of a lifetime: Jackman carrying the weight of the lead performance and Hathaway with the show-stopping number, "I Dreamed a Dream."
Both actors shed considerable weight for their roles (it's a gaunter, more hardened Jackman than moviegoers are used to) and Hathaway also had her hair trimmed in an on-camera buzz cut. The film is to be released Dec. 25 but Hooper's naturalistic adaptation — shot almost entirely with live singing as opposed to the typical dubbing for movie musicals — has already made "Les Miserables" an expected hit, with Oscar nominations, including Jackman as best actor and Hathaway for best supporting actress, widely anticipated. Both received Golden Globe nominations Thursday.
Hathaway and Jackman recently sat down to reflect on their similarities, "manning-up" in musical theater and whether they'll ever get the songs of "Les Miserables" out of their heads.
AP: You two each grew up dreaming of Broadway, have played superheroes and have hosted the Oscars.
Hathaway: One of us successfully.
AP: Do you feel at all simpatico?
Jackman: I've always felt simpatico with Anne ever since we met. When we first started to really work together on the Oscars thing, I instantly loved her. I've been hounding Annie to do any number of films.
Hathaway: (Biting her sweater) It's hard when someone you admire so much says nice things about you. I've just admired you. I think I've probably known about you longer than you've known about me. Hugh was always this myth in the Broadway and West End community. And though I never did a show, I did a lot of workshops and readings and things like that. Everybody had a Hugh Jackman story. Hugh's always been this beacon of light out there, someone who could do theater and film.
AP: What struck me is that in "Les Miserables," from your point of view, you're belting out songs with a live pianist accompanying you through earpieces. But the set is totally quiet. No one else can hear the music.
Jackman: It was a weird set to go on. It was a bunch of crazy people in the rain singing. The good thing about that was, they couldn't tell if you were hitting the wrong key because they couldn't hear the accompaniment.
Hathaway: I really want someone to go and talk to the crew and find out from their perspective what it was like to see dozens and dozens of actors every day standing there looking at the camera and then all of a sudden bursting out into eight-part harmony simultaneously.
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