Tag Archives: Sacha Baron Cohen

‘Les Misérables’ Director and Cast Talk Snot, Tattoos & Singing Live

Les-MiserablesApparently, constantly being asked, “You do understand that a movie musical is something you could really fall flat on your face doing?,” was all the motivation director Tom Hooper needed, because he pulled it off; he made a film version of the much-beloved Les Misérables and it’ll likely go on to earn a number of award nods, if not wins.

While participating in press conferences in New York City, Hooper admits, “They were right about the risks.” He explains, “When I made The King’s Speech, no one had heard of The King’s Speech.” Hooper was able to make that film in total privacy and, clearly, that wasn’t the case when adapting a piece people all across the globe hold so near and dear. “I felt very aware of the fact that so many millions of people hold this close to their heart and will probably sit in the cinema in complete fear that we would f*** it up.”

However, Eric Fellner of Working Title, is quick to point out, “If we only appeal to the fans, then, with a budget like this, the film wouldn’t work, so it was really critical that we made a film that had the DNA of the show and worked absolutely for the fans – but also had the potential to break out and create a whole new audience for Les Misérables.”

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Review: Les Misérables

Les-Miserables-PosterI never cared much for “Les Misérables” back when every other girl in my class had to sing “Castle on a Cloud” at the school talent show and, it turns out, I don’t care all that much for it in movie form either, even when it’s an immensely impressive production.

In case you’re like me and never bothered to see the musical or read the book, “Les Misérables” focuses on Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a man enslaved for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving nephew. After finally being released, Valjean violates his parole to start anew. Even though he really does turn over a new leaf, running an honest business and doing good whenever he can, the über by-the-book policeman, Javert (Russell Crowe), is determined to make Valjean pay.

Still, nothing stops Valjean from being a good man. As Fantine’s (Anne Hathaway) life spins out of control, Valjean comes to her aid, agreeing to care for her young daughter, Cosette. Valjean rescues Cosette from her unloving and eccentric caretakers, Thénardier and Madame Thénardier (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter), and raises her as his own until she catches the eye of the young Revolutionary, Marius (Eddie Redmayne).

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Interview: Hugo’s Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloe Moretz And More

What better way to spend the most magical time of year than by seeing a particularly magical and inspiring movie? No, this isn’t a review – that you can find right here – but there’s really no way to talk about Hugo without being swept right back up by that incredible adventure.

Based on Brian Selznick’s book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo tells the tale of a young orphan named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) who keeps the clocks running in a 1930s Paris train station by day and tries to finish his deceased father’s work by night, restoring an old automaton. In attempt to find the pieces to fix the elaborate machine, Hugo targets Georges Méliès’ (Sir Ben Kingsley) train station toy stand. And yes, that’s Georges Méliès as in the iconic filmmaker of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Méliès catches Hugo in the act and after finding some stolen goods and Hugo’s notebook of automaton instructions, rather than merely reprimand him, Méliès is so distressed by his findings he takes and threatens to burn Hugo’s notebook. However, with the help of Méliès’ goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), Hugo not only comes closer to fixing the automaton, but fixing Méliès, too.

In honor of Hugo’s November 23rd release, a large portion of the gang assembled for a press conference. Producer Graham King, screenwriter John Logan, the station inspector Sacha Baron Cohen, Lisette the flower shop owner Emily Mortimer, Moretz, Butterfield, Kingsley and novelist Brian Selznick all came out to talk about working with Scorsese, dabbling in film history while making a film and so much more. Check out some of the highlights in the transcription below.

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Review: Hugo

Part of the beauty of filmmaking, is the ability to transport viewers to another reality. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, filmmaker Georges Méliès seized the opportunity to put stop tricks and painted film cells to use, combining his skills as a magician and filmmaker to, quite literally, bring dreams to life. Ultimately, we’re still doing the very same thing today, but with the wildly advanced technology and more thorough understanding of storytelling, director Martin Scorsese has created one of the most successful attempts at bringing an audience into the movie with Hugo.

It’s the 1930s in Paris, France. After losing his father (Jude Law) in a terrible fire, young Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is forced to live with his only relative, his uncle, Claude (Ray Winstone). A far from responsible drunk, Claude pulls Hugo out of school and shows him the ropes at work, teaching Hugo to keep the clocks running at a Paris train station. And it’s a good thing, too, because when Claude leaves Hugo to his lonesome, it’s up to Hugo to keep things timely.

When he isn’t tending to his train station duties, Hugo is hard at work at the one thing his father left behind, an automaton. Hugo regularly snatches up food and milk from the train station vendors and also frequents grumpy old Georges Méliès’ (Ben Kingsley) toy stand, a place prime for automaton part collecting. When Méliès catches Hugo in the act, he demands the boy empty his pockets. Amidst the usual mess of rogue toy parts is a notebook with automaton drawings and instructions that oddly rub Méliès the wrong way. When Méliès takes Hugo’s precious notebook, Hugo turns to Méliès’ goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), for help and the two discover they have a lot to offer one another, Isabelle helping Hugo get his automaton up and running and Hugo giving Isabelle a taste of adventure.

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