An eclectic and unexpected (to put it lightly) shortlist has emerged from the ongoing casting of Tom Hooper’s big screen adaptation of blockbuster musical “Les Miserables.” According to The NY Post, Scarlett Johansson, Evan Rachel Wood, singer Taylor Swift and “Glee” star Lea Michele are vying for the role of the tragic street urchin Eponine.
Fans and even non-fans of the musical know Eponine is a pivotal character in the second act of the story, and more importantly, sings perhaps the most famous song from the musical, “On My Own.” This means the actress chosen must be able to sing her butt off, and each of the four actresses in contention certainly can sing, but are they up to the task of singing the demanding music of Claude-Michel Schönberg? The decision appears to be completely up in the air still, with sources telling NY Post that while Michele “knocked it out of the park” at her audition, Johansson “brings acting ability, and she can really sing” and Wood “brings her indie cred.”
The inclusion of Swift is odder than most, with the singer not exactly proving her acting chops in her first big movie role in Gary Marshall’s ensemble rom-com “Valentine’s Day.” Michele can and has sung Broadway, but her acting, also, doesn’t seem quite up to par with the all-star cast of Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and more importantly, Eddie Redmayne, whose Marius will be Eponine’s scene partner for most of her time on screen. If it must be out of these four young ladies, we have to heavily favor Wood (great acting and a perfect Eponine singing voice) and, to a lesser extent, Johansson (great acting with slightly lesser musical ability). The other two just seem completely off the mark.
Meanwhile, rumors indicate filmmakers are having a hard time locking down a famous actress to play Cosette, and have widened the field to audition unknown actresses/singers. Rehearsals begin in January and filming in March. Looks like we’ll get our full cast sooner rather than later.