While you were busy mourning the lost role of Taylor Swift–or, another lost role of Lea Michele’s—early footage from the film adaptation of Les Misérables leaked a few weeks back. It mostly consisted of grainy shots of a newly shaven Anne Hathaway as Fantine, meekly making her way through some stray notes. Less shocking than hearing Taylor play “On My Own” on a banjo, but still, this can’t be real, right? Fantine’s big number is all about belting and the belief that a few soaring notes can strip the devastation away from her life entirely. As the downtrodden prostitute, her part diminishes by show’s end—spoiler!—but she’s still responsible for one of the most memorable songs, “I Dreamed a Dream.” Performed by everyone from Patti LuPone to Susan Boyle over the years, it’s a theater kid’s dream number, usually accompanied by giant orchestration and the opportunity to flaunt pained expressions that represent a lifetime of struggle.
Today’s look at the first official trailer shows a cleaner and more cohesive glimpse of the musical, with requisite French flags and tiny children running through the streets, as well as close-ups on the other movie stars who round out the ensemble. There’s no Taylor or Lea, but feast your eyes of newcomer Samantha Barks as Eponine, plus Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert and Eddie Redmayne (My Week with Marilyn) as the lovesick Marius and Amanda Seyfried as wide-eyed Cosette.
But the singing is all Hathaway. The video below verifies that Hopper’s vision of Fantine is more a direct physical representation of the hollow and broken woman Hathaway’s character quickly becomes. She’s the anti-Boyle, totally fixated on being emotive rather than slaying the monumental “I had a dream my life would be / So different from this hell I’m living,” and there’s little help from background instruments or vocal enhancements. We’re not positive this version won’t work, but if you need to start your day with some Big Broadway Belting and some powerful strings, may we suggest Aretha Franklin’s version?
We know Hathaway’s been itching for a big-time musical moment, given her tendency to break into song at award shows and her indirect yet totally blatant auditioning for a part in the Les Misérables film, even when it was just a Hollywood pipe dream. Despite the theater geeks on your Twitter timeline’s excessive retweeting this A.M., the trailer is disappearing fast on YouTube. Get it while you can: