Les Miserables Sydney Premiere Part 2: An Interview With Tom Hooper and Sir Cameron Mackintosh

As you've now heard from Hugh and Russell on the red carpet, now hear from Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper and legendary producer Cameron Mackintosh on their vision and inspiration behind Les Miserables.

Tom, how do you get such amazing performances out of your actors?
I love working with actors, one of my greatest pleasures while working on a film set is working with actors. I try to work with actors who really bring a lot to the table. Actors like Russell who become real partners in the storytelling. Russell came up with some great ideas for the script...I like very intelligent, inquisitive actors who are trying to make the storytelling better and take responsibility not just for the storytelling but also for their performance.

What is it about the story of Les Miserables that first captured you? 
It’s the extraordinary emotions that the film evokes. When I saw the musical, when Valjean is dying at the end you know I couldn’t help but think about the fact that one day my father’s going to die and that made me cry. It seems when talking to people, so many people are getting moved by Les Mis and they make those connections...it’s a very moving story about the power of love to transforms our lives. If you look at the sacrifices the characters make in the name of love, I think that’s why we connect and that’s why we have this amazing reaction to the story.

Hundreds or millions watch the musical so at any point in the movie making were they the same target audience you were thinking of?
I was trying to both protect the fan because I know millions of people around the world hold this musical close to their hearts and I wanted to protect what it is they hold dear, but at the same time I wanted to worry about the person who hates the movie musical, who has never been to a movie musical, has no intent to go to the movie musical. Make it for them as well and try to persuade them that this film can break them open.

That one song that you added, was it a tough decision?
No, it was inspired by the book. I felt what is key to the book is what's it like to love as a parent and the transformative power of that love that parents feel for their children, it was a little subtle in the musical so I asked the original creators to honour the moment when Valjean discovers this emotion for this child and that’s how the new song came about.

Cameron, at what point did you suspect that this musical would be so enduring and so loved? 
I think probably within a few weeks of us transferring to The Palace theatre in London which was 27 years ago, people suddenly turned up despite very bad reviews and I remember a famous producer from America said I don’t care whether you go to Broadway or not I want to bring this show to America. Then the Japanese came and they said we don’t mind, we don’t care whether it works in America or not, we want it to come to Japan. In fact that second year we opened in Sydney just at the end of this red carpet [Pitt St Mall] 25 years ago...so its fantastic to be here with two of the greatest Aussie stars who are now just about old enough to play the roles. 

Did you ever consider putting anyone in from the original cast? 
Well they’d be far too old now you know, they couldn’t do it. We do have Colm [Wilkinson] and the wonderful Frances [Ruffelle] who was the brilliant original Eponine, she’s in the lovely lady scenes as she wanted to be in it just to apart of it. It was Colm’s idea, he said I’d love to play the bishop and hand the candlesticks to somebody decent, its a simply wonderful moment when that happens. 

With you bringing the stage production to the world and the film generating Oscar buzz, how does that make you feel? 
Thrilled, I’m looking forward to casting a whole new cast to bring a new 25th anniversary back to Australia.



  1. aaah this is fab!! Can't wait to see the movie!!


  2. I really enjoy reading your interviews, especially when it comes to those epic films like Les Miserables. and even if I'm not sure when will I be able to see the movie by myself :P

    Maikeni blogi - part of me

    1. Aww thanks maiken! You should see it, one of those movies you should see in the cinemas x