Ah­lan! chats to Lily Collins about her new TV show (be­cause we’re fancy like that).

As a retelling of Les Misérables hits our screens, we catch up with star Lily Collins to find out why the show was a true labour of love

Ahlan! - - News -

Back in 2012, the world was swept up in a Les Misérables frenzy, when Anne Hath­away, Hugh Jack­man and Rus­sell Crowe’s Academy Award win­ning ver­sion hit cin­e­mas. Now, seven years on – and at the height of the golden age of tele­vi­sion – the story is be­ing re­told.

Do you hear the peo­ple sing?

Well, no. This isn’t a mu­si­cal, so don’t ex­pect to be singing along to I Dreamed a Dream, One Day More and the like. Star­ring a Hol­ly­wood heavy­weight cast of Do­minic West (The Wire), David Oyelowo (Selma), Olivia Col­man (The Crown) and Lily Collins, the Tom Shank­land-di­rected six-part BBC drama re­turns to the roots of the Vic­tor Hugo 1862 novel.

Here, we catch up with EnglishAmer­i­can ac­tress, Lily Collins, known for her roles in Love, Rosie, Mir­ror Mir­ror and The Blind Side, as well as for be­ing the daugh­ter of mu­si­cian Phil Collins.

The 29-year-old has stepped into Fan­tine’s shoes – which, ar­guably, be­came a house­hold name with Anne Hath­away’s now iconic movie ver­sion – and told us why now, more than ever, is the right time for a retelling of Les Mis...

Ah­lan!: Where are we catch­ing you from to­day?

Lily Collins: I am in Lon­don, do­ing press for Les Mis…

A!: You must be ex­cited about the show com­ing out?

LC: I know! It’s nally com­ing out and I am so ex­cited. Although, we only nished shoot­ing in July, so it does seem quite quick, but I still feel like I have been liv­ing this for a long time.

A!: What drew you to the role of Fan­tine?

LC: The whole pack­age, the idea that I could be a part of this amaz­ing novel that I was well aware of for years, as well as it be­ing a BBC pro­duc­tion. So, it was all re­ally in­ter­est­ing to me. Plus, the amaz­ing cast that was sur­round­ing it. Fan­tine is this char­ac­ter that, through­out the years, has rep­re­sented such hope, de­ter­mi­na­tion and pas­sion, even in the dark­est of times. She is a char­ac­ter, I think, that we all ad­mire and need in our lives in some way. So, to be able to por­tray her has been a real dream.

A!: Les Mis is such an iconic pro­duc­tion and novel. Did you feel pres­sure to live up to the stage per­for­mance or movies?

LC: I didn’t. You know, Tom [Shank­land, di­rec­tor] made such a big deal at the very be­gin­ning, when we were rst dis­cussing the char­ac­ter, he re­ally wanted to step away from any ren­di­tions that had been done be­fore, and just fo­cus on the novel and An­drew Davies’ writ­ing. We wanted

to make it new and not have that pres­sure, be­cause it has been told in a di er­ent way. There was also a free­dom to just do it our own way. Of course, there will be ex­pec­ta­tions but at the end of the day, it will al­ways be a di er­ent ren­di­tion to the one peo­ple have in their heads. It’s al­most lucky that it had been done be­fore, so it isn’t the rst time peo­ple are go­ing to see it.

A!: What makes this pro­duc­tion stand out?

LC: It is di er­ent, it’s not a mu­si­cal, so that will bring in an en­tirely new au­di­ence. An au­di­ence that maybe doesn’t love mu­si­cals and will be see­ing it this way for the rst time. In that re­spect, it felt like an op­por­tu­nity to be part of the rst wave, as well.

A!: Why is now the right time for this ver­sion of the story to be told?

LC: I think it’s al­ways the right time for a story like this. I mean in to­day’s world, where there is a lot of po­lit­i­cal, so­cial, eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal un­rest, it’s in­ter­est­ing to see a story that tran­scends time, and deals with peo­ple, in di er­ent so­cial sit­u­a­tions and eco­nomic stand­ings, to see how their en­vi­ron­ments can a ect their lives.

Every­one can get some­thing out of a story like this, be­cause every­one will nd a char­ac­ter that they will re­late to.

Like I men­tioned be­fore, the fact that there is a char­ac­ter like Fan­tine, who can – even in the dark­est of times for her – still main­tain a sense of hope. And the fact that even when she is phys­i­cally gone, her mem­ory and what she stood for is a drive for the rest of story, if puts faith and hope in the viewer, that even when things are at the worst, there can still be a glim­mer of hope.

A!: When you first tweeted about the trailer in De­cem­ber, you de­scribed it as a “labour of love”, what did you mean by that?

LC: I guess what I mean is that every­one in the cast and crew put their hearts and souls into this pro­ject. The el­e­ments and en­vi­ron­ments that we were in, weren’t al­ways the eas­i­est to shoot in: there were freez­ing tem­per­a­tures and a lot of mud. We were put through the wringer in the shoot­ing of it, but we all love the ma­te­rial and each other so much, that we fought through ev­ery day, be­cause we knew that the over­all story would be bet­ter be­cause of it. At the end of the day, I think that if you can go to sleep feel­ing ex­tremely ex­hausted but very proud of what you’ve done, [it’s the right track]. Es­pe­cially for a char­ac­ter like Fan­tine, whose story is so tragic, her whole life is a labour of love. She works hard to get where she is, and puts her heart and soul into every­thing she does. So, I meant it with all pos­i­tiv­ity.

A!: The cast is in­cred­i­ble, what did each of them bring to the pro­ject that sur­prised you?

LC: I think I was mainly sur­prised by how op­po­site most of them were to their char­ac­ters. There is a lot of in­ten­sity in this story, and there is a quite a lot of evil that goes on but, you know, Do­minic West’s char­ac­ter [Jean Val­jean] is a sav­ing grace for my char­ac­ter in some re­spects. He is so funny, and such a fun time to have on set. And then there’s David Oyelowo [Javert], play­ing this evil char­ac­ter for Fan­tine, but in real life he is just so won­der­ful and funny, we had such a great time to­gether. As did I and Olivia Col­man [Madame Thé­nardier], she is so moth­erly, witty and goofy, but she’s play­ing this evil madame. So, it was amaz­ing to wit­ness them be­ing them­selves when we’re not lm­ing, but switch on this in­ten­sity when we are. I re­spect them all so much for their craft and who they are as hu­man be­ings.

A!: Would you ever be tempted to star in a stage ver­sion of Les Mis?

LC: I feel very at­tached to this ver­sion of Les Mis, so it would be hard to con­sider do­ing an­other ver­sion. I de nitely want to do mu­si­cal theatre though, at some point in my life. I love theatre, that is a world that I would love to live in at some point.

A!: What have you got com­ing up in 2019?

LC: I also have done a lm called Ex­tremely Wicked, Shock­ingly

Evil and Vile, which is about Ted Bundy and it is go­ing to Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val. And then I did a lm about a year ago, be­fore ei­ther that or Les Mis, about JRR Tolkien, called Tolkien, which I am very ex­cited about. Ni­cholas Hoult plays Tolkien, it’s an­other pe­riod drama but is so beau­ti­ful in its own right. Both of those will be com­ing out this year, it feels like it’s go­ing to be a good year!

‘Les Mis proves that even when things are at the worst, there can still be a glim­mer of hope’



Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.