Hugh Jackman: l lived like a monk

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Les Misérables is an adaptation of the popular stage musical based on Victor Hugo's classic novel. It is set in 19th-century France and revolves around a paroled prisoner named Jean Valjean who seeks redemption.
January 9th, 2013

Hugh Jackman ''lived like a monk'' to prepare for his part in 'Les Miserables'.

The 44-year-old actor takes on the role of Jean Valjean - a convict who manages to turn his life around - in Tom Hooper's big-screen adaptation of the hit musical and he admits he had to really push himself to look like a convincing prisoner on the brink of death in the opening scenes.

He said: ''The director told me 'I need you to get to where your friends stop you and ask, 'Are you OK? Are you sick?'. Until you get to that point you haven't gone far enough'. It took me to places I've never been before, vocally, physically, emotionally.

''I told my wife, 'This may be too much for me'. She replied, 'It will probably demand more of you than anything you've done so it should feel frightening and uncomfortable'. She told me, 'Use the fear. Work harder. Get in there.'

''I shaved my head, had to lose more than two stone in weight and lived like a monk, nursing my vocal cords with a portable steam machine and avoiding dairy products.''

Although it was hard work, Hugh loved starring in the movie, especially because the actors got to sing their parts live, instead of lip-syncing.

He told the Daily Mirror newspaper: ''As a performer it was fantastic. The idea of singing live was daunting at first but it gave me so much freedom. It was like being on stage.

''Instead of lip-syncing I could slow the tempo down or speed it up and do what I liked. I just had to worry about acting.''