There has been a lot of digital ink spilled about the drastic transformation of Anne Hathaway in Les Mis, mostly pointing out how well the actress is working her new pixie cut. But Hathaway's costar, the always charming and delightful Hugh Jackman, recently spoke about the entire process and how everyone in the cast wasn't as gung-ho on getting down and dirty. We recently chatted with Jean Valjean himself and he explained exactly what happened with the cut, and hilariously related how committed to character Hathaway really was.
At the beginning of Les Mis, we barely recognized you, you looked so forlorn. How did that transformation take its toll on you?
"I’m so thrilled to hear you say that. It's something that I’d like to pass off to Tom because it is something that we had talked about from the beginning. It’s a really big part of the story. Jean Valjean and Javert know each other right through the story. And when they meet again in the play, probably like five minutes into the play, Javert has no idea who this guy is, but it’s clear to the audience that the guy has just put on a grey beard.
(But for the film) we actually have an opportunity for all characters to show time, scale, all these things. I want to make it clear that people in your life are not the same, they’re sick, something’s wrong. So, um, I did lose a lot of weight. But I have to say, at least I had time to prepare. Annie was doing it over 14 days. I think she lost about 300 pounds.
I’ll just share a little story. I had my hair cut off at the beginning of the movie, so it could grow back. And Annie had been talking about cutting her hair. She came for the consultation with Tom and when she walked into the makeup room where I was sitting with my head shaved, and I saw the look on her face that the reality was dawning on her, as she was talking to Tom and her makeup artist. If you watch the movie again, her hairstylist is a man, so obviously in the film he is dressed up as a woman. Do you notice man hands in a dress? Because they are there, those man-hands. And I remember Annie say, 'If you end up cutting my scalp and there’s blood, fantastic. Let’s go for it.' And Tom was standing behind and I said, 'Um...for the record, I would like makeup.'"
Can't say we blame you, Mr. Jackman.
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Photo: Courtesy of Working Title Films.