Anticipation is high for the Dec. 14 release of the big-screen version of one of the most popular stage musicals ever. Though cinematic interpretations of Broadway shows have become more commonplace since Chicago took the 2002 best-picture Oscar, Les Mis represents a new phase in the evolution of the movie musical.
The tale of love, redemption and social unrest that unfolds in 19th-century France — whose dialogue, along with such showstopping numbers as On My Own, is completely sung — will feature live performances instead of following the tradition of actors lip-syncing to a pre-recorded track.
Tom Hooper, Oscar-winning director of The King’s Speech, wouldn’t have it any other way.
"If you are miming to a playback, even if the synchronization is done very well, there is a part of you that knows something is off, something is false," he says. "When it’s live, you believe it so much more. The actors have complete freedom rather than following a recording done three months before."
Hooper says the results deliver those “spine-tingling moments” he appreciated when he saw the stage show. Fans will get to hear a sampling when a Les Mis teaser premieres on MSN.com Wednesday before it hits theaters Friday.