did this interview with Eddie in anticipation of the UK release of Les Misérables!

Les Misérables star Eddie Redmayne talks about what kept his spirits up during filming and smelly sets.

Was the live singing in Les Misérables nerve-racking or invigorating?
I found it invigorating. I never did a musical the other way like Amanda [Seyfried] has done, with lip-syncing to playback. I feel like singing live is the only way I could do it: it allows the spontaneity of film acting without spending 95 per cent of your thought power on moving your mouth in time.

How did you approach playing Marius, the one revolutionary character who comes from money?
I tried to add things to make him have more edges, rather than have him be a guy who waltzes through singing as people die for him. We wanted to bring the sense of what this guy had given up, which you find out about in the book, to make him more three-dimensional than an operatic stereotype of the hero.

Is it hard to think back to a time before mass communication, especially with all these revolutionaries manning the barricade?
You had to send messengers. Is it hard to imagine? I suppose it is not that hard because mobile phones and all that stuff have happened in my lifetime. I remember a time without it, when you would be meeting someone and then turning up and the person is not there. You could not just call them up.

What was the atmosphere like on this set?
Amanda has the capacity to keep you constantly smiling. There were acts of generosity, like every Friday, Hugh [Jackman] would buy everybody on the cast and crew a lottery ticket. Having Sacha [Baron Cohen] and Helena [Bonham Carter] around was wonderful. Russell Crowe had people around for singing sessions. There was something about the fact that we had this rehearsal for nine weeks, which meant it felt more like a theatre company than any other film cast I have worked with.

How did you cope with the turpentine smell onstage every night when you were performing in the play Red?
We rehearsed for a month and performed for two months in London, then we went to Broadway and did four or five months. It was interesting, as far as smells were concerned. The director, Michael Grandage, wanted Mark Rothko’s studio to smell like turpentine, in the same way that [Les Misérables director] Tom Hooper had rotting fish and horse dung there on set.

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