After the premiere of Les Miserables the other night, director Tom Hooper explained what he was after when he boldly had the actors sing live as they filmed.
He said that watching movies where actors lipsynch has a “slightly distancing quality” and even a “falsity” to it, which he was anxious to avoid.
“I didn’t want any barriers between emotion and realism and truth,” Hooper added.
So he had piano accompaniment piped into actors’ earphones and let them sing along, potential imperfections and all.
After all, Les Miz has always been a high-octane, heavy-on-the-body-fluids vehicle, with singing that should seem more spontaneous and naturalistic than in most musicals.
Explained Anne Hathaway, “It was nice not to have to match your performance to something you did three months before.”
She said that was especially gratifying because in that amount of time, you’ve learned so much more about your character.
And costar Amanda Seyfried noted, “If you’re crying [while you’re singing], you can be out of tune and it doesn’t matter as much!”