‘Les Miserables’ Featurette Reveals Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman’s Makeunders (VIDEO)

'Les Mis' Review
Celebuzz weighs in on the awards-season musical.
The transformation of the star-studded Les Miserables cast to downtrodden 19th century underclass  is nothing short of movie magic. 

For the big-screen adaptation of one of the most beloved Broadway musicals, the ever-handsome Hugh Jackman and the always alluring Anne Hathaway metamorphose into dirtied, decrepit proletariat during the French Revolution. Now a new behind-the-scenes video reveals the actors’ about-face for the groundbreaking film.

Lisa Westcott’s great achievement, I think, was the journey of Jean Valjean,” Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper says of the Les Miserables make-up artist. “Somehow she manages to pull off this extraordinary journey for Hugh, where you really feel he’s lived a very long and tiring life.”

“The first time we see him, he’s a convict in a very bad state,” Westcott explains of Jackman’s character, a paroled prisoner seeking redemption. “His head’s been scarred by many years of just being hacked off. He’s got this very long straggly beard which we extended. We just made him very, very decrepit and tired and filthy.”

Like the stage production of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, the movie is a live musical, with the big-voiced actors singing on set as opposed to the usual lip-synching. And Hooper captures the belted-out notes with close-up shots, making the face make-up particularly meaningful.

“Contact lenses [were] made to make him look very sore in the eyes,” Westcott said. “Then we had some teeth made, some slips that went over his own teeth, very, very thin. Tom was so, so worried about teeth and quite rightly. You have to be close-up on an artist, and they’re holding a note, and you’re seeing right into their mouth.”

As for Hathaway, “How can you make a beautiful woman not look beautiful?” Westcott mused. “It’s kind of tricky, isn’t it?” Hathaway stars as Fantine, a fired factory worked who is forced to sell her hair, teeth and ultimately prostitute herself to support her young daughter.

“Hathaway had the idea that she wanted to get her hair cut for real…which I was amazed at,” Hooper said. “We even tried to talk her out of it.” Then there was the matter of her teeth. “A lot of people had to wear plastic molds on top of their teeth that had been painted,” Hathaway explained. “I was one of the lucky ones — I didn’t have to wear it. I was just able to paint my own teeth.” Westcott added, “It looks great on camera. It looked like a bloody mess.”

Les Miserables hits theaters Dec. 25.

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