'Les Miserables' Star Anne Hathaway on Finding Her Inner Fantine: 'In the Moment, You Cease to Exist' (VIDEO)

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Anne Hathaway has bore her body and soul in past roles to play such characters as a besieged personal assistant (The Devil Wears Prada), an ailing artist (Love and Other Drugs), and a formidably sexy cat burglar (The Dark Knight Rises).

But for her role in the new adaptation of the classic stage musical Les Miserables, Hathaway says she had to shed her skin completely, even if playing desperate mother Fantine demanded some of the most intense preparation of her career.

“There was a lot of discipline in the preparation,” Hathaway told Celebuzz. “I think we all stopped everything about our lives and focused on the task at hand, which was performing Les Mis on screen. But actually in the moment, you can’t think about any of that, because you cease to exist – it’s just about your character.”

Hathaway and her co-stars tackled the material in a way that no other movie musical has – by requiring the stars to actually sing on stage or set as they performed each scene.

She explained that in order to surmount this challenge, she developed her voice so that it could be strong enough to handle any emotion she felt when bringing the character to life.

“I needed to get my voice to a level of strength and preparedness that I could make any vocal choice at all in the moment, and know my voice would be there to support it,” Hathaway said.  “So all of the technical prep was about that.

“But in the moment, once again it was just about letting go.”

Les Miserables opens in theaters nationwide December 25, 2012. Watch the film's theatrical trailer below.

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