Watch: ‘Les Miserables’ sets itself apart by singing live on set

Over the last decade or so, filmmakers have stretched and played with the movie musical structure in pictures such as “Chicago,” “Across the Universe,” “Moulin Rouge,” “Dancer in the Dark” and “Dreamgirls.”  When it was announced director Tom Hooper would follow up his Oscar-winning work in “The King’s Speech” with a big screen version of the classic musical “Les Miserables,” the question was how would Hooper differentiate this adaptation?  The answer is revealed in a new behind-the-scenes featurette Universal Studios released today.

Ah, yes.  They are singing live.  On set.

As the actors interviewed admit, its a gutsy move, but it also allows Hooper to try and duplicate some of the theatrical intimacy you experience with an actor on stage as opposed to one lip syncing an earlier recording on set.  And unlike so many other musicals, a majority of the story is told via song in “Les Miserables.” If Hooper had gone in a traditional direction, there’s the chance the entire production might have felt disconnected from the viewer in some way.  Of course, that’s assuming an audience will be able to avoid being seduced by composer Claude-Michel Schönberg’s fantastic melodies and searing dramatic crescendos.  Will Hooper’s live gamble make a difference?  We’ll find out soon enough, but in the meantime check out the video for more footage of stars Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Samantha Barks, Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried singing live on set in the video below.

“Les Miserables” opens nationwide on Christmas day.