Theatre Talk Thursday: What would you most want to see in an extended release of ‘Les Miserables’?

Combeferre, Jehan, Enjolras, Marius, Gavroche, and Courfeyrac in "Les Miserables."

Combeferre, Jehan, Enjolras, Marius, Gavroche, and Courfeyrac in “Les Miserables.”

There are only a few hours left until the highly-anticipated Les Miserables DVD is released and members of the StageDoorDish team have been buzzing about the possibility about deleted scenes, additional footage and the long-awaited potential for an extended cut of the film. Read what we would most want to see in an extended version of the film and then share your thoughts with us!

Samantha, founder and editor-in-chief 

All of my dreams involving an extended cut of Les Miserables can be reduced to one character: Grantaire. There is so much in the stage production and in the novel that was not captured in the film that I wished we could have seen. First and foremost, where did R’s verse in “Drink With Me” disappear? Not only is it the most poignant part of the song but George has a fantastic voice and I hoped against hope while listening to the deluxe album that the verse was included.  The other wish I have for a Les Mis extended cut is less realistic because unlike R’s verse, it was never filmed. I waited eagerly for the touching moment leading to R and Enjolras’ death when R extends his hand and asks “do you permit it?” Not only does that speak volumes for the characters and their relationship but with Aaron and George, two superb actors, it would have translated beautifully onto the screen.

Alan, managing editor

I’m going against the grain and saying that there shouldn’t be an extended cut. The film currently clocks at two hours and 37 minutes, which is getting into Lord of the Rings-length territory. I am not against Les Mis, it made a great movie, but I don’t know that adding even more material to an already long movie is going to make it any better. My idea: Let customers order their own version of the movie a la carte. “I’d like the intro, skip Javert’s second song, and add some more barricade boys.” Then everyone could get exactly what they wanted in an extended cut or they could even order a shorter movie

Monte, creative director

I won’t even try to pretend that I haven’t put an inordinate amount of thought into what I would want most out of an extended cut of the film, and while there are a lot of things that I would like to see, I’ve decided to go with my first instinct.  I definitely want to see the full version of “Drink With Me” for a number of reasons.  Sure, it’s a fantastic song, and yes, it gives us this really brilliant moment of character dynamic between Enjolras and Grantaire, but it also is a sort of major turning point because Grantaire’s “Could it be you fear to die?” is the first open admission of their fate.  So for me, cutting that verse from “Drink With Me” was totally unexpected, both in the sense that it knocks out a major moment of characterization for Grantaire and Enjolras, and in the sense that it deprives us of this horrible moment of acknowledgement at the hands of the character who is simultaneously one of the most and the least invested in the fate of the barricade.  So the ball is in your court, Mr. Hooper; it’s not as if I asked you to further your marriage of the musical and the novel in order to give us more of the boys’ politics (though I’d love that too if I’m honest).

Amelia, writer

If there truly is a higher power I will be able to watch a 4+ hour version of Les Miserables. I want to watch and hear every last recitative, musical interlude, and random one-liner. Several interviews with the Les Mis stars discuss edits that range from snippets and one-liners to entire scenes that were cut from the film during editing. Perhaps the average movie-goer doesn’t care to see a full 3 minute scene of “Drink with Me”, but let’s be real, the average movie-goer didn’t realize Les Miserables was a musical adaptation and their opinions shouldn’t count. This show is truly one of my favorite musicals of all time and since I can’t watch it onstage every day, I would really like an unabridged movie version to make up for it. Any die-hard Les Mis fan out there (and there are a lot) hungers and pines for any inkling of more character development, plot enrichment, or homages to the musical. Many of us even read the book, ALL 1463 pages of it. I think we deserve at the very least, a 4 hour movie to compensate us for our time and devotion.

Samantha Barks as Eponine.

Samantha Barks as Eponine.

Clairewriter

In an extended version of Les Miserables, I’d really like to see more development between Marius and Eponine. I’d want new viewers who aren’t familiar with the stage version to be able to get a better grasp on why we are supposed to care about Eponine at all, because in the film her significance is definitely pared down. I was disappointed to see that the very beginning of “On My Own” was missing from the film, and that parts of “A Little Fall of Rain” had been cut. Eponine as a character is famous for getting the short end of the stick in life, so it’s unfortunate that this even carries over to the amount of screen time she gets.

Josh, columnist

Les Mis should be offered in every way that previous DVD sets like Lord of the Rings have been: in both theatrical and extended formats. Why? Well, first of all, when Cameron Mackintosh and Tom Hooper decided to turn the hit musical into a film, they were automatically obligated to include as much of the original work as possible. After all, why would you take a perfectly well-loved musical and make unnecessary changes? It wouldn’t make sense. With a musical as vast in scope as Les Mis, it would be more of a hindrance to take out crucial songs and moments than a help. But as we saw, many changes WERE made to the script: songs were rearranged, scenes were shortened or removed entirely, and a new number was added that had never been seen in a previous stage version (but we’ll discuss that another time). These changes, while arguably necessary for a film, stirred much controversy from both theatre critics and general fans of the musical. Thus, I think the producers owe an extended cut of the film to devoted Les Mis fans. I personally want to see the full version of “Drink With Me,” as well as all of the smaller moments where lines were removed to shorten the overall length of the film. And while we’re at it, let’s throw in alternate versions of “Bring Him Home” and “On My Own” to see if Hugh and Samantha had other renditions of their respective songs. That’s half the fun of having an extended DVD anyway–seeing what made the film, what didn’t, and why.

Wendi, video blogger

I haven’t see the stage show (yet…it’s on my bucket list and I know as a Broadway fanatic it’s embarrassing that I’ve yet to see it), so it’s hard for me to pinpoint what was missing from the movie, but I definitely wouldn’t have minded longer songs. I read that many songs were trimmed for the film, but I would have loved to hear them in their entirety. The already two and a half hour movie didn’t feel nearly as long, so an extra 30 minutes or so of this award winning and world famous score wouldn’t have hurt. Oh, and more Aaron Tveit. Always more Aaron Tveit.

Renee, assistant and contributing writer

I hope Tom Hooper decides to release a special extended edition of Les Miserables because I’d love to see the movie in the way he had intended it to be.  There was so much that had to be taken out to keep the film at a reasonable time. While I understand that this was necessary for a cinematic release, it would be great to have a DVD version available for those of us who want it.  I would love to have seen the full version of several numbers, especially “A Little Fall of Rain” and “Drink With Me.” I wouldn’t mind having it be released a bit later, but I would love to be able to see the movie with everything included!

Now that you know what we have our fingers crossed for, what would you most want to see in an extended version of the film? Let us know in comments!

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About Samantha S.

"I found the theatre and I found my home.” ― Audra McDonald
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5 Responses

  1. Drink With Me. I know basically everyone is saying it, but R’s verse needs to be seen. I just can’t believe that it was cut in the first place to be honest. I’d also love an extended E/R death scene, but that seems highly unlikely!

    I really think we needed to see more of Cosette than we did because I know a lot of people who haven’t read the book/seen the actual show are saying how much they dislike her. I feel like if we saw more of her story in the movie, perhaps the response would have been a lot nicer.

  2. The ‘Friends of the ABC’ intro into ‘Red/Black’, a full version of ‘Drink With Me’, Grantaire waking up before finding Enjolras, the scene Fra mentioned in his interview between Courfeyrac and Gavroche cleaning the guns, more of Eponine’s stuff so she doesn’t feel like… whatever it was Tom Hooper turned her into for the movie. She just wasn’t fleshed out very well at all and I pin that down to editing. Basically, more stuff from the 1832 section of the film.

    • YES YES YES. That Courf and Gav scene. I need that in my life… on second thought… it might just reduce me to a puddle of tears, so maybe not? Who am I kidding, bring it on.