MANILA, Philippines – While she was preparing to sing the ballad “I Dreamed A Dream” for the movie version of the musical hit “Les Miserables,” Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway admitted that her singing couldn’t compare to that of Filipino Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga.
In the cover story for the December issue of Vogue, Hathaway, who plays Fantine in the movie – the same role performed by Salonga on Broadway and on the 25th anniversary concert of “Les Miserables” – said her most daunting challenge in the movie was singing “I Dreamed A Dream,” which is probably the most recognizable song in the musical.
“A few weeks before we filmed it, I realized how I was going to have to sing it, and that it wasn’t going to be pretty,” Hathaway told Vogue. “First of all, it could never have compared with Patti LuPone or Lea Salonga or even my mom, really: powerful singers with big, beautiful voices. I knew I couldn’t offer that, but I also knew it wouldn’t be appropriate. If I went for sounding beautiful while looking like this tragic wreck, it would be ridiculous. And I saw an opportunity, because of the nature of film, to just go for it and let it be alive and present and raw.”
Hathaway’s mother played Fantine in a touring production more than 20 years ago.
“I’ll never forget it—I just sat there sobbing,” she told the magazine of her mother’s performance. “And I don’t think it was just because I was watching my mother die, though that was definitely part of it. I was just so moved and felt so connected to her and the music and the whole production. I’ve been in love with the show ever since.”
Salonga, in her official Twitter account on Tuesday, thanked Hathaway for the kind words.
“Thank you, Anne Hathaway, for mentioning my name in Vogue in the same breath as Patti Lupone. Here's hoping our paths cross someday,” she said.
In her interview with Vogue, Hathaway also revealed that she lost 25 pounds for “Les Miserables.” Before the start of shooting, she said she went on a “strict cleanse diet” and lost 10 pounds then followed it with “a near-starvation diet, consisting of two thin squares of dried oatmeal paste a day.”
“I had to be obsessive about it—the idea was to look near death,” she told the magazine. “Looking back on the whole experience—and I don’t judge it in any way—it was definitely a little nuts. It was definitely a break with reality, but I think that’s who Fantine is anyway.”
“Les Miserables,” which also stars Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, will hit US theaters next month.