Oh my. Adam Lambert saw the new movie version of the Broadway musical, Les Mierables and was not impressed. He tweeted a few of his thoughts:
Les Mis: Visually impressive w great Emotional performances. But the score suffered massively with great actors PRETENDING to be singers. …it’s an opera. Hollywoods movie musicals treat the singing as the last priority. (Dreamgirls was good) Anne Hathaway as Fantine and Enjolras were the exceptions for me. Helena B Carter and Sasha B Cohen were great too. And I do think it was cool they were singing live- but with that cast, they should have studio recorded and sweetened the vocals. Eponine’s voice was cool too… I felt like I should ignore the vocals and focus on the emotional subtext- but the singing was so distracting at times it pulled me out. The industry will say “these actors were so brave to attempt singing this score live”but why not cast actors who could actually sound good? Sorry for being so harsh but it’s so True! I’m so glad we are all discussing this now! Look-I grew up w this musical and so my expectations are quite high. Didn’t mean to b negative. One more clarification: DO go see it for Anne Hathaways performance. It’s was breathtaking.
From what I understand, the director chose to go with live vocals because it would be more immediate. An actor can literally ACT the song, rather than merely lip sync vocals they laid down months prior. In other words, the actor has to make his decisions months before he hits the soundstage or meets the actors he’s working with.
And to be honest, if Les Miz was done as a typical musical, I’d have no interest in it. But the live vocals intrigue me. Maybe the director could have cast the movie with better singers–I can’t judge until I’ve seen the movie–but personally, I can forgo perfection if the vocals are raw, immediate and emotional.
Les Miz Long Trailer
Les Miz Featurette
Director Tom Hooper and cast members describe filming with live vocals. Hooper in particular explains why he chose to forgo the typical pre-recorded vocals.