Les Misérables - Cosette (Isabella Allen) holds on tight to her savior, Valjean (Hugh Jackman) ©2012 Universal Pictures
Les Misérables – Cosette (Isabella Allen) holds on tight to her savior, Valjean (Hugh Jackman) ©2012 Universal Pictures

Les Misérables have been nominated for 8 Oscars. One of which is for the Best Original Song “Suddenly’. We have here a video feature on the creating of “Suddenly’.

Les Misérables – Video feature on the original song ‘Suddenly’

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Les Misérables – Honoring the musical through-sung form

Les Misérables – Co-Screenplay and co-creator Claude-Michel Schonberg ©2012 Universal Pictures

The first draft of the screenplay that Nicholson wrote was divided into dialogue interspersed with songs. Shares Hooper: “All the new story material that Bill had come up with and the story material I wanted to add from the book, Bill wrote in the form of spoken dialogue. Yet, the musical itself is through-sung.

After a great deal of thought and reflection, I decided that I wanted to honor the musical’s through-sung form. I wanted to create an alternate reality on film where people communicate through song.

So at that point, we welcomed the musical’s original creative team – Claude Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil and Herbie Kretzmer – into the process of creating the screenplay as we asked them to write entirely new lyrics and create a new musical structure and a new song [“Suddenly”] inspired by the spoken dialogue Bill had written.

Les Misérables recording the original song

It was a hugely exciting moment where we re-created the original conditions of the musical’s creation in order to interpret it newly on film.”

There was another major attraction for Hooper when he considered a filmic adaptation of a fully through-sung musical.

He explains: “I wanted to take a risk and do something very different in a different genre. From the beginning, what excited me was the idea of doing it live.

I don’t think I would have done it if it turned out not to be possible to direct the film live, because no matter how good the synchronization is of actors singing to playback, an audience can tell that there’s something unreal about it. It doesn’t feel connected to what is occurring on the screen.”