Friday, June 22, 2012

Death and the Madame

It seems that the entire creative team behind the forthcoming movie adaptation of the fantastically popular stage musical Les Miserables are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. No sooner had the teaser trailer for the December release, which is still being filmed at Pinewood Studios in London, been posted on this here interweb than the musical theatre blogs were alive with the sound of dissent, the central complaint from many of the bloggers being that the director Tom Hooper was daring to create a cinematic experience rather than imitate the stage show. If Les Miserables were to remain slavishly devoted to its theatrical origins it might pacify some but would almost surely alienate many, many more. Although the task of re-imagining The Glums for the big screen as a Christmas crowdpleaser for the masses has undoubtedly led to many a headache in the production office, the trailer suggests to me that our beloved Les Mis (I have been known to hear the people sing on many an occasion myself) is in safe hands and is certainly not being attempted on a shoestring budget. The rouge for the lovely ladies alone must have cost a pretty penny!

Emile Zola, fellow Frenchman and literary contemporary of Les Miserables's Victor Hugo, will also soon return to the big screen with a promising new adaptation of his 1873 psychological thriller Therese Raquin. Following the affairs of an unfortunate menage a trois, debut director Charlie Stratton's treatment of the classic tale features Elizabeth Olsen, younger sister to Mary-Kate and Ashley, as the eponymous heroine who, after being cajoled into marrying her sickly cousin Camille by her conniving aunt, finds herself falling desperately in love with Camille's charming best friend Laurent and escaping her unhappy life as Madame Raquin by murdering her other half. The tangled web of deceit and obsession will be woven by a stellar cast of Brits and Americans including Tom Felton as Camille, Oscar Isaac as Laurent, Jessica Lange (pictured above) as the aunt, Matt Lucas, Mackenzie Crook and Shirley Henderson. Before getting her tragic heroine groove on for Therese Raquin, Olsen filmed a role in Kill Your Darlings, the story of an early encounter in 1944 between the great poets of America's beat generation. Starring Felton's one-time Harry Potter nemesis Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Huston, the latest member of a slightly more salubrious acting dynasty than Miss Olsen, as Jack Kerouac, Kill Your Darlings should coincide nicely with the release of an adaptation of Kerouac's masterpiece On The Road.

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