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Anne Hathaway Talks Singing Live on 'Les Mis' Set, Hugh Jackman & Her Family History with the Role Fantine

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood December 6, 2012 at 1:19PM

Time Magazine sat down with Anne Hathaway to discuss Tom Hooper's upcoming "Les Miserables," singing live on set, the power-house Hugh Jackman and more...
Anne Hathaway

Time Magazine sat down with Anne Hathaway to discuss Tom Hooper's upcoming "Les Miserables," singing live on set, the power-house Hugh Jackman and more. Highlights below.

On "going down the rabbit hole" of singing live on set:

"I’ve never been in this situation before, where 99% of the performances are what’s used in the film... We had nine weeks of rehearsal, which was such a gift and so rare in film. I was able to work out kinks and try things and feel very safe. And we had extensive vocal training—we literally had vocal coaches at our disposal 24 hours a day. Your vocal chords are about the size of a dime. So they get tired… With a multicamera approach, you can relax just that little more, because if you follow a feeling down a rabbit hole in one take, you know that it won’t be cut together with another take where that feeling wasn’t present."

On the crumble-power of Hugh Jackman:

"Hugh’s performance is one of my all-time favorites, especially in the prologue—talk about being hit square in your chest by someone’s talent! When he crumbles, he doesn’t just crumble physically, he crumbles vocally. He goes into the emotional and vulnerable place in his voice, and he rides that right to the end of the song until [she starts shouting] he totally pulls these notes out of nowhere!! It was one of the most thrilling and visceral experiences I’ve ever had in a film, the first time I saw it."

On her family history with the role Fantine:

"You know, my mom played Fantine. That was the second time I saw the show—the first time she played a factory girl in the ensemble, but the second time I saw the show she played Fantine. That was the last role she had before she gave up acting to be a mother. So I had no problem believing that mothers made extraordinary sacrifices. I don’t know of any mother who wouldn’t do anything for her children."

This article is related to: Interviews, Anne Hathaway, Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables, Hugh Jackman

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.