I haven’t done a musical yet so what’s the interesting story here? To my mind it’s who of the cast does the actual singing. And in regards to how they’re billed in the credits: so do those who get their names right at the top do more work? And who performs with who?
In the end I’ve tried to achieve a purely visual representation of the film with little Cluedo-like heads as the characters and each column representing a song. The only labels being the location it takes place to help give a hint as to what those songs are (if you don’t know the running order in detail, it’s based on the full soundtrack*). It’s also stacked to get a sense of the rousing and quiet bits. Being a proper musical with virtually everything sung, this then acts as a scene-by-scene breakdown of the story.
So what do we learn? Jackman earns his top-billing by singing the most and being the main presence in the start of the film. As the action hits Paris it becomes more of an ensemble piece. Crowe pops up here and there throughout the film but does a lot less work than Jackman for his second place. Hathaway does all her work in a handful of songs before dying (and popping up at the end). Redmayne belies his lower billing with a lot of work throughout the middle and end of the film (and twice as many songs as Crowe), while Seyfried pops in midway only to disappear for most of the second half.
In terms of combos despite there being several character pairings who share five songs (Mr & Mrs Thenardier, Marius & Eponine, Marius & Enjolras, Javert & Valjean), it’s the lovebirds Marius & Cosette who get to spend the most time singing at each other with six.
*Minus the tracks ‘Turning’ (barely long enough, no main cast) and ‘Beggars at the Feast’ (effectively part of the song before).
29 September 2013