'Les Mis' Stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway Storm London's Leicester Square for World Premiere
LONDON -- Crowds gathered despite freezing temperatures Wednesday evening in the British capital for the world premiere of Les Miserables, the blockbuster musical from Oscar winning director Tom Hooper (The King's Speech).
The movie unspooled across two of London's main cinemas, the Odeon and the Empire, both on Leicester Square.
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Working Title co-chairman Eric Fellner, alongside the production banner's co-chief Tim Bevan, and Debra Hayward, came to the stage to kick off the evening.
Fellner, making a rare appearance in public after a lengthy illness, thanked Bevan for stepping in and making all the hard early decisions on the film. Fellner also gave a big shout out to universal, working title's partners for 13 years.
Fellner then brought producer Cameron Mackintosh to the stage at the Empire Leicester Square.
Mackintosh said, as a film virgin, he couldn't hope for a kinder, gentler partnership than the one he'd had with Working Title as an intro to the world of movie-making.
Mackintosh brought Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer, the musical's collaborators, to the stage before introducing Hooper to a round of applause.
Hooper said it was a childhood dream to have the film make its world bow at the Empire, a cinema "he'd dreamed as a child about," having visited it as an moviegoer in his youth.
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Hooper apologized to the audience for waiting, quipping, "It was tradition for London premieres to keep audiences waiting for at least 45 minutes," especially if the movie itself is "lengthy."
Other Les Miserables stars joining Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway on the twin cinema tour of duty included Samantha Barks, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Director Hooper said from the red carpet he had "wanted to invite the 60 million fans" of the musical but "hadn't been able to source a venue big enough" in London.
Set against the backdrop of 19th Century France, the picture is expected to be in Oscar contention and is billed as a story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption.
Based on the novel by Victor Hugo upon which the musical is derived from, Hooper's film is written for the screen by William Nicholson.
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The movie, an awards season hopeful, is scheduled to roll into U.S. theaters December 25 before beginning its international roll out in January 2013, hitting U.K. screens Jan. 11.
Invited guests then took off for an after-show party in North London at the Roundhouse, a venue closely associated with live music.