The stars of Les Misérables on MASTERPIECE have been making the media rounds to promote their all new, epic adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic! Hear the hilarious behind-the-scenes stories and thoughtful insights from Dominic West, Lily Collins and David Oyelowo about their characters and Andrew Davies’ take on the literary masterpiece. (Note: Some of these videos may contain advertisements. These advertisements are not affiliated with PBS.)
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The Associated Press
“David Oyelowo kept his distance from the rest of the actors while filming the upcoming six-part retelling of ‘Les Miserables.’ It wasn’t personal.
Dominic West would often invite his fellow actors out for a bite or just to hang out but Oyelowo would repeatedly decline. West wondered why it was so hard to get to know Oyelowo.
The reason was because Oyelowo was playing the morally rigid, obsessive Inspector Javert and felt he had stay an arm’s length away to remain in character.
‘I wanted to feel like an outsider. I wanted to feel like a shark,’ said Oyelowo. ‘I like to lose myself in whatever I’m doing. I think that gives you a better chance of making the audience go on that journey with you.’
The added preparation can be seen on PBS’ ‘Masterpiece’ beginning Sunday when Javert begins his hunt for the heroic fugitive Jean Valjean, played by West, in a powerful adaptation of Victor Hugo’s mammoth novel by screenwriter Andrew Davies.”
Los Angeles Times
“‘Reading the book was the most pleasurable reading experience I’ve ever had,’ he said. ‘I think it’s the best book ever written. It’s even greater than Tolstoy. Valjean is the greatest hero in literature. His story of redemption and the battle he has against his adversaries and against himself make him such a compelling hero.’
As Valjean, West had to connect with both his brutal side and his tenderness: ‘He’s been imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving nieces and nephews,’ he said. ‘He knew when he went to prison that they would all die in starvation.’
He added, ‘What’s central to the book is Javert’s view of the criminal, which is they are born and cannot be redeemed, and Hugo’s more enlightened view, that you’re a product of the way people treat you. If you’re brutalized for 19 years, you will be a brute. His evolution from violent brute to pillar of the community and then romantic hero is what’s so extraordinary about his character arc. Behind this beast is this great compassionate soul.”
David Oyewolo: “‘I’m doing press for Les Misérables and then watching the yellow vests in Paris protesting over similar issues to those that Hugo wrote about 150 years ago – a very real discrepancy between the haves and have-nots. Look at the prison industrial complex in America, a modern-day system of, in my opinion, slavery. Jean Valjean is imprisoned for 19 years for stealing bread. It had to be because France needed manual labour. You see some really trite reasons for putting, particularly, people of colour in prison in America. There are definite echoes.'”
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