"Les Misérables" is a 19th century period piece. The film adaptation was being directed by Tom Hooper, who recently won the Academy Award for "The King's Speech" but had never made a musical. And he wanted his actors to sing each of their songs live, in a method that had been tried only sparingly in film musicals. So much could go wrong.
Yet these were irresistible challenges for both Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, who star in the film as protagonist Jean Valjean, and tragic heroine Fantine.
"Jean Valjean is like a 'Hamlet,'" said Jackman, during The Envelope Screening Series discussion on "Les Misérables." "It's a journey that is so great, I knew that as a character it would require everything from me."
Hathaway went on to discuss the intense nine-week rehearsal period, during which she gave it her all as an exercise in building up stamina for when shooting began. The actress found the whole experience scary — one that had so many ways of going wrong and only one way of going right. "Just as this movie is about finding one's faith, I knew that playing the part would be that too."