Popular blockbusters such as Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter have gained movie screen fame though all three titles found their humble beginnings in the form of book pages. The novel to movies trend is a lasting tradition—and is only being heated up further in terms of “old” school hits colliding with modern day sensations.
The competition for a top spot in the Oscars has gone underway this season with the recent releases of extravagant movie trailers, based on literary classics. One delves into the lives of the wretched seeking redemption written in the nineteenth century by French author Victor Hugo— the musical Les Misérables. The other piece hails from Eastern Europe; a tragic love story by Leo Tolstoy entitled Anna Karenina. And finally, there is The Great Gatsby by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that takes place during the Roaring Twenties—a decadent decade brimming with both luxury and scandal. Naturally, the creation of a movie hails much more than talented actors and insightful directors. They compel meaning to be felt off-screen and reach the audience in a way that is evocative and unforgettable.
Hugh Jackman, who plays the titular role of the worn convict Jean Valjean described Les Misérables in an interview as being “about the human spirit and the ability to become the best version of ourselves no matter what the odds. That is something we can all relate to.”
Producer Cameron Mackintosh stated, “One of the scenes I’ve seen in the rushes that just breaks my heart is Hugh finding little baby Cosette in the woods all covered in snow. It is one of the most haunting things I’ve seen.”
Lead actress Keira Knightley in Les Misérables has been vocal in describing the challenges faced in her role as an aristocrat in 19th century high society Russia. She described the challenge as tough to “balance” her character. However, she also described the drama movie as “amazing. It was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. In a brilliant way, in a brilliant way.”
“Obviously, Tolstoy was a genius and I think the reason that his books last so well – is because they are so complex and it’s really looking at the best of humanity and the worst of humanity, often in one character. And trying to balance all those things in the one person was really hard. And, hopefully it’s worked.”
According to a New York Times article, Australian director Baz Luhrmann (William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!) utilized the aesthetic technologies behind 3D “to find a new intimacy in film.” Luhrmann insisted Fitzgerland would have “approved” of his vision as quoted, “He was a modernist. He was very influenced by cinema.”
All three highly anticipated films are scheduled to be released in December—just in time for the holidays.
Image Source Entertainment Weekly