Once director Tom Hooper chose Hugh Jackman for the lead role of Jean Valjean in his movie "Les Miserables," he had the difficult task of casting Valjean's nemesis, Javert. So, Hooper asked himself: "Which actor out there in the world will the audience feel would realistically get the better of Hugh Jackman?" For him, there was only one answer: Russell Crowe.
"I think a lot of people come see the film just to see the conflict play out between these two extraordinary acting personalities," says Hooper.
The great rivalry between Jackman and Crowe is what holds the film together, says Jackman. "Russell has an innate kind of strength and power, and with doing very little, commands so much presence," he told 60 Minutes. To see these two men battle it out-- in both swordfights and musical duels-- click on the above video.
Like the stage production of Victor Hugo's epic novel, "Les Mis" the movie is a live musical. That means the actors-- Jackman, Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Amanda Seyfried-- sang all the songs live on set. No lip-synching to canned studio recordings in this movie. And according to Jackman, that made the shooting of "Les Mis" unlike any other film.
"It's a different feeling than a normal movie because every night, every day on the set, is an opening night," says Jackman. "So every day had this delicious fear."
We saw that delicious fear on display as we watched Jackman in his trailer, rehearsing with vocal coaches before a big scene. "In musical terms, it's probably one of the most difficult vocal roles," says Jackman. "If your instrument doesn't back up what your mind wants to do, it's frustrating as all hell."
To see Jackman's intense behind-the-scenes preparations for the role of Jean Valjean and clips from the movie "Les Miserables," watch the above video.
And for you Les Miz fanatics who have every song from the soundtrack memorized, there's a special treat at the end of this video: the movie has a new number for you to memorize!