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Giving Thanks For A Life Of Loving Les Miserables And The Magical Movie Version To Come

The first time I heard Les Miserables, I was 8 years old playing at my friend Ali’s house. She had an older sister and watched old episodes of Saturday Night Live, and was generally hip and cool in all the ways I was not. (I read Babysitters Club books under my covers with a flashlight at night and pretended my bike was a horse named Tabitha, who I kept in the “barn” of my suburban garage.) Looking back, I am fairly certain Les Mis was the first musical I ever heard, and it was the first time music really evoked something emotional in me. Like, I felt something. I’m not sure what an 8 year old really feels, but it was more than what I got listening to my dad play the drums on the steering wheel of our Peugeot wagon as Fleetwood Mac‘s Greatest Hits churned along in the tape player.

And so, after months of obsession, my parents took me to see the touring performance when it came to Boston. We somehow had amazing seats (or do all seats seem amazing to kids the first time they see musical theater?), and my mom bought me a giant gray Les Mis T-shirt and I cried through the whole show, even though I had no idea what I was crying about. The tears just brewed up inside me and popped out, my first official ugly cry. They weren’t over anything specific, really, because I didn’t truly understand the actual context of what was occurring: a woman selling herself into prostitution to save her daughter only to die without ever know her, or a man coming to terms with the hypocrisy of the law by which he stands (and then deciding to kill himself), or the squalor and poverty and revolution. I was just moved.

That’s why, even now, I’m not sure I really know what Les Mis is actually about. Like, I know Javert kills himself because every six months or so I wind up crying and reading the Les Miserables wiki page. (No, I’ve never read the book; leave me alone.) But, when I think of the show, all I think of is how beautiful sorrow is set to music. That it touched something in me as a kid, even though I had zero life experience at the time. That the songs, and the theater of it, is just SO damn good.

Obviously, I cannot wait to see the movie version of Les Mis, out on Christmas day. I mean, I CANNOT EFFING WAIT. Every time I watch the trailers for the films, I assume the world’s most crumpled cry-face and all the emotion I felt as a kid comes pouring out…through my tear ducts. Now I am old and with a superficial grasp on the story and a passion for this music that’s only grown deeper since hearing it 25 years ago. And the Hollywoodification of it all only somehow makes it that much more amazing. Anne Hathaway ate just oatmeal paste to get sickly skinny for the role. Amanda Seyfried‘s voice is irritatingly warbly and yet perfectly Cosette-ish. The only thing better than Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean is his slightly obnoxious and pretentious turn when describing singing live on-set in the preview clip above. Eddie Redmayne‘s juicy mouth, the size of a $5 foot-long from Subway. The greatest musical in the world got a chin implant and a new haircut and is about to meet The X Factor generation. Bring it on.

I am incredibly thankful for the transformative role Les Miserables played in opening my mind as a kid, educating me about the power of music and theater and the way a saucy tune belted out by a bunch of big-boobed prostitutes can make you feel. (Man, those dresses sure were low-cut, amirite fellow sheltered children of Puritan Massachusetts?) I am thankful the talented Tom Hooper helmed what is sure to be the best movie of 2012 and possibly my life (apologies to Breaking Dawn and Pitch Perfect), and I am thankful how crazy committed the cast is to making a movie version of this beloved musical that actually looks even more incredible than the musical I loved as a kid.

I can’t wait to ugly cry through the entire thing.

[Photo: Universal]

Jennifer Lawrence Tells Leno Of Her Love For Honey Boo Boo, Deep-Fried Cheese Steak, Old Strippers

When we first saw an excerpt of Jennifer Lawrence on The Tonight Show, it was all about her “Fat Witch” Halloween costume, and we loved it. But then we saw the whole thing and realized that is the mere tip of the iceberg of the awesomeness that was this interview. We already knew the Catching Fire star loves eating Cheetos with her great boyfriend Nicholas Hoult and doesn’t care that she’s not twig-skinny like most Hollywood stars, but here are new things we learned about the endearingly normal, self-deprecating star as she promoted the Silver Linings Playbook last night.

  • She got into a car wreck a couple of weeks ago because she mistook a breast cancer parade for a Honey Boo Boo parade while driving home from the Catching Fire set in Georgia. “It said ‘boobs’ on the [sign] but I thought it was saying Boo Boo,” she explained of how she rear-ended someone. She had to tell the person she ran into, “I’m sorry that I hit your family. I thought I saw Honey Boo Boo. Please forgive me.”
  • On another Georgia adventure, she found herself at a “dive bar with senior citizen strippers,” getting a lap dance from an aggressive Bo Peep, who warned her not to touch her when she bent down, and “then she inserted her breast into my mouth.” Jen still tipped her, though.
  • Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell wanted her to gain weight for the role, which JLaw was excited about, but she also worried how she’d do it. “I already eat like someone who is proving something.”
  • Her solution? Deep-fried Philly cheese steaks.

BRB, we are going to find where those exist now.

Jennifer Lawrence visited the Tonight Show

[Photo: NBC]

Related: Jennifer Lawrence Thinks It’s “Funny” She Has An “Overwhelming Career” When She Wanted Kids
“In Hollywood, I’m Obese”: Why Jennifer Lawrence’s Weight Comments Are Good For Everyone
Jennifer Lawrence Talks About Adorkable Relationship With BF Nicholas Hoult To Elle

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Did The Hobbit Kill 27 Animals? PETA Vs. Peter Jackson

Martin Freeman and director Peter Jackson on the set of The Hobbit

We’re just starting to get excited for the epic epicness that will be Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit movies, but the latest news about the production may just put a damper on our Middle-earth love. Yesterday, PETA released info to The Associated Press alleging that 27 horses, sheep, goats and chickens had died during the production due to dangerous conditions at the farm where they were housed. PETA’s sources described hazardous bluffs and embankments that killed two horses, overcrowded stables, worm infestations that killed sheep and goats, and the mauling of chickens by out-of-control dogs on the property.

Jackson and company immediately defended themselves, saying that PETA didn’t check their sources. “To date, the only horse wranglers whose treatment of animals fell below the production’s standard of care seem to be the two wranglers who have chosen to level this new accusation on the eve of the premiere of the first Hobbit film and who were dismissed by the production over a year ago,” Jackson wrote on Facebook late last night.

Spokespeople for the production told the AP that there were two avoidable deaths of horses but other animals died of “natural causes.” Meanwhile, the American Humane Association — the folks that authorize the “no animals were harmed” statement in the credits of movies — claim that while it made sure none were harmed on the set, it had no control over what went on at the farm, which was 186 miles away. “We do not have either the jurisdiction or funding to extend that oversight to activities or conditions off set or before animals come under our protection,” said a statement, according to Deadline. So that’s not exactly a statement of support for The Hobbit.

PETA, which demonstrated its power in Hollywood recently when protests over horse deaths led to the cancellation of HBO’s Luck, made a suggestion we find rather unrealistic. “In a movie that features CGI dragons, ogres, and hobbits, CGI animals would have fit in perfectly. Jackson could have made The Hobbit without using a single animal—and he should have.” The producers already said they used CGI for 55 percent of the animals in the movies, but we imagine using zero real animals, especially for close-ups, would look absurd. (Sorry, Twilight werewolves, you are no substitute for the real thing.)

We really hope this is just a story of disgruntled workers making use of PETA’s strong conviction that no animals should ever work for people in any setting, and not an actual tale of mistreatment. We don’t think Bilbo would approve.

[Photo: Warner Bros.]

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