Les Miserables' Pivotal Scene Was Tweaked Because of Anne Hathaway
It's no secret that actors sometimes have to go the extra mile to prepare for a role in a film.
For example, Evan Peters had to read tons of books about serial killers when he was preparing to play Jeffrey Dahmer in Netflix 's Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story series. He also played a long audio sample of Dahmer speaking. This was to get the gist of his voice and manner.
Anne Hathaway recently recalled what it took to prepare for her role as Fantine in Tom Hooper's Les Miserables. She said she had to study the laws of France at the time, and that influenced the filming.
"I went so deep on the research for Les Miserables that I discovered that there was a law against prostitutes in France at the time the book was set—or Fantine's portion of the book was set — that a prostitute could be jailed if she did not have her head covered," Hathaway told the A.V. Club's Jack Smart in her exclusive interview.
Just to remind you what the story is about, Anne Hathaway's character, Fantine, is a young working-class French woman who becomes homeless. She turns to prostitution to send money to her daughter Cosette, who lives in a boarding house. Originally pretty, Fantine has to sell her front teeth, her hair and ends up a wreck of a woman.
The actress has said that knowledge of the laws has had an impact on one of the scenes where her character Fantine has a fight with a man. She asked the filmmaker to have the man played by Bertie Carvel knock Fantine's hat off.
"Because if I were to have the police come upon me and my head is uncovered it instantly means go to jail like there's nothing to be done," Anne Hathaway has said.
This is something that can be described as a very profound approach. It is true that each actor has their own techniques for getting into their characters. While Henry Cavill has said that he usually spends hours reading scripts on set in order to become Geralt of Rivia for The Witcher series, Helen Mirren once shared her various steps to prepare for a role, and deep research is high on her list.
She said she tends to research specific aspects of a character: their profession, lifestyle and historical context. If the character is based on a real person, proper bibliographical research is an absolute must. In this case, video footage, historical accounts and portraits can come in handy. She says it's important to experience things you haven't experienced as a person, which can sometimes be unpleasant and uncomfortable.