So far so good in terms of all the Les Miserables news we've gotten: Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert. All classy actors, all pretty much universally lauded choices. The world has been in relative argeement over the positive casting thus far undertaken by Les Mis. But now, what with the reveal of four viable candidates for one supporting role, some serious fists are about to fly. Brace yourselves as we enter a titanic battle: who should play Eponine?
We've just today caught wind of four young actresses, each with a pretty steadfast following, being considered for the role of the spoiled daughter of the Thénardiers whose fortune turns, causing her to live life as a street urchin. The names in question: Lea Michele, Scarlett Johansson, Taylor Swift and Evan Rachel Wood. And now, we examine the choices...
Lea Michele: Glee's leading lady is no stranger to playing spoiled close-to-rotten. Rachel Berry, while not a malicious character, is just about the most self-absorbed human being in contemporary television. Plus, she's got pipes. I'd say she's got a fair shot at the title, and is indeed worthy of the cause.
Scarlett Johansson: I can't recall ever hearing Johansson sing. As for her acting abilities, it's sort of dependent heavily on the material. She has wowed me in the past—I really appreciated her Lost in Translation and Girl with a Pearl Earring performances. Considering that we're dealing with Les Mis here, I don't doubt that the film will be strong enough to showcase the (very) good side of this actress.
Taylor Swift: In sort of a reverse of the Johansson phenomenon, I know I've heard her sing...but definitely haven't seen Swift do much acting. Truth be told, her live action performance history is limited to Valentine's Day and one episode of CSI. She may be a talented singer, but Les Mis requires someone who can really tap into the essence of the character as well.
Evan Rachel Wood: For some reason, I've got a strong feeling that the role will be Wood's. True, this actress doesn't have the same cult devotion that the other three enjoy, but she has done her share of acceptable work—most notably in The Wrestler. Wood is the dark horse of the bunch, but one I wouldn't put all my money against.
So there it is. Four actresses, one role. Who will take it? Tom Hooper, you evil genius...
Les Miserables heads to theaters Dec. 7, 2012.
Tom Hooper's big screen adaptation of the popular stage show, based on Victor Hugo's book, already boasts a star-studded cast including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter.
A number of famous female stars are still in competition for the role of Eponine, and country star Swift, who appeared in 2010 film Valentine's Day, has already auditioned for the part, according to New York Post gossip column Page Six.
Glee star Michele, who made her Broadway debut in Les Miserables in 1995, and Hollywood actress Johansson are also said to have tried out for the singing role, along with Evan Rachel Wood.
The film is expected to start shooting early next year (12) ahead of a planned December (12) release.
Biel, who dressed in a catsuit to portray the comic book villain for a Halloween party scene in 2007 comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, admits she jumped at the chance to audition for a leading role The Dark Knight Rises, but she was left licking her wounds when director Christopher Nolan handed the role to Hathaway.
She tells Elle magazine, "(That was) another one that got away. I was gutted. I mean, to work with Christopher Nolan in that kind of a role..."
Biel then set her sights on landing the part of prostitute Fantine in filmmaker Tom Hooper's retelling of the classic Victor Hugo story, but admits nerves got the better of her as she tried out for the job.
She says, "I felt terrified when I auditioned for Les Miserables, the movie that Tom Hooper is doing. I was terrified to sing in front of him. I auditioned for Fantine and I sang I Dreamed a Dream. I didn't get it. And I would have loved it."
Hathaway signed on for Les Miserables last month (Oct11), joining Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Helena Bonham Carter in the ambitious new film.
In the same Elle interview, Biel revealed she also missed out on the romantic lead in The Notebook to Rachel McAdams.
This Friday, America will be graced with Alexander Payne's The Descendants, a movie that is resting with at least some substance on the pull of its cherished leading man: George Clooney. Although Clooney has the star power, it is important not to forget some of the smaller players in The Descendants, like Judy Greer.
Some of you might not recognize Greer by name, but you'd know her if you saw her. Greer is one of those omnipresent supporting actors, with smaller roles in countless movies. Although Greer is quite the formidable example of this type of performer, she is certainly not one the only one. See if you can guess the other supporting actors with impressive resumes from the hints provided below (the answers are below the videos)! Beware: some of the clips below are NSFW.
This Supporting Actor has played a mob boss who was outsmarted by Billy Crystal, a detective who is duped by Kevin Spacey, a gangster who befriends Robert De Niro’s son, and a nightclub owner who makes Chris Kattan very uncomfortable.
It's Chazz Palminteri!
This Supporting Actor has played a preppy WASP who is startled by Christina Ricci, the estranged biological mother of Robin Williams’ son, Warren Beatty’s unfaithful wife, and a mild-mannered reporter investigating a murderous Renée Zellweger,
It's Christine Baranski!
This Supporting Actor has played a businessman who likes to “Pow!” Will Ferrell, a taser-happy Nevada policeman with no patience for Bradley Cooper, a disloyal CIA agent who betrays Ashton Kutcher and a former military man who amps up the strength of Rob Corddry's paintball team.
It's Rob Riggle!
This Supporting Actor has played the flighty mother of an attendant of Johnny Depp’s chocolate factory, a long-named dodgeball champ who falls in love with Joel David Moore, the tentacled crewmember of Tim Allen’s space ship, and as a member of a futuristic society wherein Zach Galifianakis greets people by giving them the finger.
It's Missi Pyle!
This Supporting Actor has played a slimy gangster in a Coen Brothers movie, a bumbling producer’s assistant in a Coen Brothers movie, an inept private eye in a Coen Brothers movie and a mysterious dry cleaning investor in a Coen Brothers movie.
It's Jon Polito!
This Supporting Actor has played a med school interviewer who lost his temper with Kal Penn, the headstrong future father-in-law of Jason Biggs, a catchphrase-happy former actor involved in a folk music production starring Eugene Levy, and the captain of a space ship fostering the entire population of a very overweight humanity.
It's Fred Willard!
This Supporting Actor has played an airheaded secretary at Matthew Broderick’s high school, the neglectful mother of Juliet Lewis, an airport employee who curses out Steve Martin, and the doting assistant to a college-bound Rodney Dangerfield.
It's Edie McClurg!
This Supporting Actor has played an untrusting bureaucrat who teaches Ron Perlman how to smoke a cigar, the mayor of a village that Jim Carrey villainizes, the father of one of Ben Stiller’s camp counselors, and the co-coach of Paul Giamatti’s wrestling team. But of course, he's probably best known for his TV work...
It's Jeffrey Tambor!
This Supporting Actor has played a soldier on Tom Hanks’ rescue mission, one of the only non-imaginary friends of Russell Crowe, a college student who gets attacked by an anti-Semitic Michael Rapaport (suspension of disbelief), and a high schooler who pals around with Anthony Rapp.
It's Adam Goldberg!
This Supporting Actor has played a vindictive prep school dean who was chastised by Al Pacino, an FBI employee who is outsmarted by Joe Pesci, an underhanded politician who is outshined by Chris Rock, and the Secretary of Defense who fends off alien attackers with Will Smith.
It's James Rebhorn!
Cameron Crowe has had his share of music experience. You might recall the semi-autobiographical adventures of a young Rolling Stone reporter in the Crowe's signature film, Almost Famous. Others might remember a very stereo-centric scene in Crowe's first feature, Say Anything.... And, of course, there were the music videos and the documentaries: Tom Petty, Alice in Chains, Elton John, Pearl Jam... it's fair to say that Crowe knows his way around a tune. So, it's both unsurprising and pretty darn groovy that he has come to collaborating with Sigur Rós' frontman Jónsi on some original music for the upcoming We Bought a Zoo.
Crowe and Jónsi (Jón Þór Birgisson) co-wrote "Gathering Stories," the final song on We Bought a Zoo's soundtrack, and coming from a fan of Crowe, Jónsi, Sigur Rós, stories, gatherings, soundtracks, original music, zoos, financial transactions, and this symbol: Þ, I can objectively state that this song is pretty darn groovy. Unsurprisingly.
The musical Crowe-laboration is available free thanks to NPR. You can listen to it on NPR's website by clicking here. We Bought a Zoo opens Dec. 23 and stars Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, and Almost Famous star Patrick Fugit.
Tom Hooper, when all this is over, we're going to throw you a party. By 'we,' I mean the viewing public. By 'party,' I mean Earth-shattering expression of gratitude for what is certain to become of Les Miserables.
The latest master of screen and stage to join this mission of musical/narrative majesty is Eddie Redmayne, whom you might remember from his colorful performances in Black Death, Powder Blue, The Yellow Handkerchief and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
The torrentially fantastic cast that Les Miserables is building is something we'll be able to tell our kids about. With Hugh Jackman as the lead Jean Valjean, Anne Hathaway as his love Fantine, Russell Crowe as the merciless Inspector Javert, and Helena Bonham Carter as the wicked Madame Thenardier, we'd better bring our full attentions to this film. Missing even a moment will be unacceptable. Redmayne is set to play the student revolutionary Marius.
Redmayne's next cinematic jaunt will be in the company of Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn, which opens Nov. 23. If you're not familiar with the show, get a taste for the part of Marius courtesy of a Jonas Brother.
The quirky romantic drama, starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst, bombed at the box office, leaving the filmmaker in a slump. But longtime pal and collaborator Cruise, whom Crowe directed in both Jerry Maguire and Vanilla Sky, was determined to get the filmmaker back on his feet.
Crowe tells the New York Times, "I wasn't in a foetal position, but yeah, I was blue... I was deep in the writing cave, and he said, 'Hey man, you need to be directing. You're forgetting the joy, the adrenaline.' He's like, 'Let's go for a drive.'"
The Minority Report star then dragged Crowe to Judd Apatow's Los Angeles Knocked Up set, so the pair could experience movie magic again.
Crowe adds, "Cruise sidles up to me and goes: 'See? Get out of your house, man, it's fun.' And that's when I felt like, 'Yeah, it's time to direct again.'"
Crowe's return to feature films, We Bought a Zoo, hits cinemas in December (11).
The film's star, Hugh Jackman, recently revealed he was trying to persuade Hathaway to take on the role of the prostitute in the retelling of Victor Hugo's classic story, and it seems his efforts have paid off.
The actress reportedly fought off competition from Amy Adams and Rebecca Hall to land the singing role.
Hathaway will join Jackman, Russell Crowe and Helena Bonham Carter in Hooper's ambitious new film.
After weeks of rumors (and to absolutely no one's surprise), Anne Hathaway has been officially given the role of Fatine in Tom Hooper's film adaptation of Les Miserables.
To take the female lead in Les Mis, Anne Hathaway was the obvious choice. You might even call her the safe choice. But she is, nonetheless, a great choice. This movie isn't vying for breakout stars; it's roping in all the classics. Hugh Jackman as the hero, Jean Valjean? Yes, it's none too surprising, and none too risky. But it'll be none too disappointing either. Same goes for Russell Crowe as the villainous Inspector Javert.
This even applies to the director, Tom Hooper. Last year, Hooper served us The King's Speech, as classic and traditional as a movie can get. It was still good, but it was a shoe-in from the start for the Best Picture.
The real question is: does this indicate a problem? Does the "Better Safe than Sorry" mindset that is enveloping this project (classic musical, classic cast, classic director) indicate a cynical deterrence from anything new, unfamiliar, or different in any way? Or is it simply an appreciation of a certain type of talent, and an application of that talent in a way that will produce an enjoyable, worthwhile film?
It's probably the latter. Entertaining the former theory is really just looking for things to scorn. And while I love looking for things to scorn, I also love Les Miserables. And I love Hugh Jackman. And I love Anne Hathaway.
And in the end, would you rather have a heart full of scorn...or a heart full of love?
Director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) is well underway with shooting on his new, Christopher Nolan-produced Superman flick Man of Steel, so a new casting tidbit is comes as something of a surprise. For reasons unknown, Julie Ormond (Curious Case of Benjamin Button), originally cast as Superman a.k.a. Kal-El's Kryptonian mother, has been dropped in favor of Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer.
Zurer hasn't blown up here in the states, but she's made a splash with big name directors like Steven Spielberg (she played Eric Bana's wife in Munich and Ron Howard (co-starring alongside Tom Hanks in Angels & Demons). Now she'll be cozying up to Russell Crowe, who has been cast as Supes' alien dad Jor-El. Zurer certainly has a penchant for snagging notable leading men.
While Ormond in the role would have assured a quality performance (I'm guessing scheduling conflicts were the reason behind the change-up), fans should be happy to see a rising star like Zurer take on the role. If it all goes well, it could mean more work for the actress in the future—hopefully on Earth this time.
Man of Steel co-stars Henry Cavill, Michael Shannon and Amy Adams and hits theaters June 14, 2013.