I love movie musicals. I love Broadway musicals. My favorite Broadway musical is Les Miserables because it’s such an epic show with great music and an amazing set. I jump at any chance to see the show when it comes to town. I’ve been alternately hoping for/dreading a movie version of the show because I know they’ll “open” it up to include actual sets and locations and I’m just not sure how a show that has zero spoken dialogue and a stage with a large turntable will translate to film.
But my dreams/fears are coming true as a film version is set to happen now. I was able to put my fears aside once I heard the names of the lead cast — Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert (replacing original star Paul Bettany), Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Sasha Baron Cohen and (possibly) Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers … and then dread set in once again with the latest casting news: Taylor Swift as Eponine. Taylor Swift! Who has been in one movie, Valentine’s Day, for all of ten minutes. And she reportedly beat out Lea Michele, Scarlett Johannson and Evan Rachel Wood (although I don’t know if the latter two can sing, and Michele has done Broadway).
Now, I don’t mean to have a Kanye moment here and throw cold water all over young Miss Swift’s good news, but I don’t know if this was the best choice. Yes, Swift has a devoted following and casting her is certainly a calculated move to bring in younger audience members (what, the Gleeks aren’t good enough?), she’s won many awards for her albums, but I’ve heard her sing live on TV a few times and she’s … just not that good live. Sorry. Just have a peek at her performance with Stevie Nicks at the Grammys. I don’t mean to hate on her for this one bad performance, but I’ve seen her sing elsewhere and there’s obviously a lot of tweaking going on in the studio.
I know you’re saying to yourself, “Why should that matter since they pre-record the singing for movies anyway?” Well, it matters because it’s been revealed that all of the singing in the movie will be done live. No pre-recorded tracks by the stars. Maybe Taylor can pull off the singing, but then there’s the acting. Can director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) pull a great performance out of her? If they wanted someone to draw kids to the movie, why not just cast Nick Jonas as Marius? He’s already done the role in the 25th anniversary concert performance. I really have nothing against Taylor Swift personally, but I do love Les Miserables and I just don’t know if this casting decision was the right one. What do you think?