Like many folks across the country, American Idol alum Adam Lambert took in a movie the final weekend of 2012.
The always engaging, straightforward Lambert checked out director Tom Hooper’s adaptation of the hit stage musical, Les Misérables (Les Mis) featuring the ensemble cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried.
Lambert, a professional singer who has parlayed his Idol recognition into a successful solo career garnering Grammy nods, headlining worldwide tours and topping the Billboard 200 chart voiced his critique on Twitter calling out what he believed to be the film’s strengths and weaknesses.
“Visually impressive with great emotional performances. But the score suffered massively with great actors pretending to be singers. Look I grew up with this musical and so my expectations are quite high,” Lambert said.
“The industry will say, ‘These actors were so brave to attempt singing this score live,’ but why not cast actors who could actually sound good? I felt like I should ignore the vocals and focus on the emotional subtext – but the singing was so distracting at times it pulled me out.”
Adam continued: “It’s an opera. Hollywood movie musicals treat the singing as the last priority. Dreamgirls was good.”
Lambert gave positive marks to Samantha Barks for her portrayal as Eponine and called Hathaway and Aaron Tveit (Fantine and Enjolras, respectively) “exceptions for me.
“Do go see it for Anne Hathaway’s performance. It was breathtaking. Helena B. Carter and Sasha B. Cohen were great, too.
“I do think it was cool they were singing live, but with that cast, they should have studio recorded and sweetened the vocals,” Lambert said.
“Sorry for being so harsh, but it’s so true!”
Filmmaker Hooper was passionate about having the actors sing live on the set telling Collider: “I made it clear that I wouldn’t do the film unless I did it live. That was my level of belief that live singing was the way to go for this particular story.
“It came out of a lot of thinking about the musical form, partly it was personal, but even in the great musicals I have to get over the lip-syncing issue; I have to forgive the lip syncing issue. I feel a slight feeling of embarrassment when people lip-sync unless it’s done absolutely perfectly. And I didn’t want any of that falsity in this film. I wanted it to be very real.
“But most importantly it was about acting. Great acting is all about being in the moment, being in the present tense. The combination of live singing and live pianos, because that’s the other pretty important thing that the accompaniment was live, gives the control back to the actor. And they have all the control that they would have in any other film, so if they need to wait a fraction of a second for an idea or an emotion to form in their eyes before they express it, they can,” he continued.
“So I wanted to hand the power back to my cast. Obviously that required me getting a cast who were actually able to do live singing because you really have to be able to actually sing properly to do it that way.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Les Mis posted weekend earnings of $28 million for a six-day domestic total of $67.4 million and a worldwide haul of $116.2 million.”