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Peter Jackson made Ian McKellen cry

During filming of The Hobbit, Ian McKellen had an angsty moment over the fact that he was acting with thirteen dwarves and yet not a single actor was there on camera with him -- all he had were 13 photographs of the dwarves on top of stands with little lights; whoever he was "talking" to their light would flash, but the actual actors did all their camera time separately and were filled in later by the computer techs. "I cried, actually. I cried. Then I said out loud, 'This is not why I became an actor'. Unfortunately the microphone was on and the whole studio heard..."

I sympathize with him. Much as I love special effects and amazingly realistic goblins, dwarves, dragons, monsters, spaceships, etc., there's something missing when 90% of what you see was produced inside a computer. The best, most memorable performances I've ever seen are live: Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Mikado, even the junior high musicals I was in (under protest) and the high school musicals I worked tech crew on were magical in a way that movies can't be. When you know there are no second takes...when the actors are responding in real time to the audience...there's a wonderful feedback loop that gets going, and its remarkable. Light years different from what happens in a movie theater, where your reaction makes no difference at all to what's playing on screen.

This is also why I'm very excited about the movie version of Les Mis that's coming out next month. Instead of the usual approach, where the singers do all the singing in the studio months ahead of time and then have to time their acting to what they did weeks earlier, this production is allowing them to sing in real time, while they act. It's an interesting middle ground between live performance and movie-musical, and the actors are pretty excited about it.

We've already bought our Hobbit tickets; may have to snap a couple of these up as well.


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Nov. 27th, 2012 02:43 am (UTC)
Oh my, it has been awhile since I've truly looked forward to seeing a movie and these both look totally awesome. The Hobbit comes out the weekend of hubby's birthday so I am hoping to go then, but not on opening night. I may have to go see les mis by myself as I am pretty sure hubby will not even consider going to see it. He's not into musicals no matter how awesome. Either of my girls would go with me but they won't be home for Christmas. :(
Nov. 27th, 2012 06:42 am (UTC)
As if I needed another reason to love Ian McKellan, knowing that a consummate professional who does Beckett without batting an eye found the task challenging and gave it his all to the point of tears... well, it's another reason. I want to squish him and thank him for being amazing.

I have been pretty thrilled by the Les Miz trailers, and Anne Hathaway's "I Dreamed A Dream" is devastating. I'm not sold on whatserface as Cosette just yet, but I'm keeping an open mind, and lordy, Jackman as Valjean is going to absolutely slay me. It's just such a thrill to see them doing a musical thoughtfully and with such thoughtful acknowledgement of the thrill of live performance.

Awesome post, by the way. Really great things to think about.
Dec. 1st, 2012 06:05 am (UTC)
I must be one of the only people who is completely the opposite of excited for the Les Mis film. I /adore/ Les Mis, but I really really hate the cast, with a flaming burning passion. I wanted them to do this /right/ (not like POTO) where they would do a real casting call the way you do for a real musical, and pick the best person. Instead, they picked a slew of A-listers, none of whom have singing voices that fit (in my opinion).

I may also just have an irrational dislike of Anne Hathaway. And I find the casting of Jackman and Crowe mystifying, as I can definitely see Valjean!Crowe and Javert!Jackman, rather than the other way around.

So pretty much after listening to everyone sing, I'm now convinced the only two people I'm going to like are Marius (whose actor has a strangely awesome voice, for a character I normally find too wishy-washy and boring) and an oddly sympathetic Javert (because you can't help but sympathize with Russell Crowe).

But I'm pretty excited about the Hobbit. :) Although I'm pretty sure there will be no Celeborn, which makes me a little sad. ^^;

Anyway, thanks so much for the reference in your other post. <3 We can squee about it afterward. ^-^
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