2009 American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert seemed to anger a lot of people when he criticized director Tom Hooper‘s decision to have the cast members of Les Misérables sing the musical’s challenging songs live rather than recording the songs separate from the film or otherwise hiring professional singers instead of actors.
Although Russell Crowe responded to Lambert’s criticism by simply saying that it was done the way the director wanted it, another member of the production had much more to say. Cameron Mackintosh, who produced the original musical and the film adaptation responded to Lambert’s comment by saying, “What does he know about musical theatre? It was a naive and silly comment. He’s an idiot.”
Mackintosh didn’t leave it at simple name-calling. He elaborated on his thoughts behind the decision by adding, “Good singers could not have given these performances on screen. The camera is cruel – you can get away with much more on stage than you can in the cinema. That’s one of the reasons why [Les Mis lyricist] Alain Boublil and I were so keen to remake our show as a film, rather than try to film our show.”
Ultimately, Mackintosh points at the adaptation success among fans of the original musical and the cast’s credentials as proof that it was a wise decision for the film. He says, “A lot of the fans of the show love the film. One of the main reasons is because they get more detail into the storytelling than is inherent in the show because of the exploration and the direction of Tom Hooper. Also, 95 per cent of the people in the film have come from musical theatre.”