Sure, Tom Hooper is disappointed that he wasn't among the directors nominated for Golden Globes this morning, but he's got plenty to feel good about all the same. After all, his film adaptation of "Les Miserablés" scored nods in four categories: Best Actor, Musical or Comedy (Hugh Jackman); Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway); Best Song ("Suddenly"); and Best Picture, Musical or Comedy.
"I find that in situations like this it's best not to think of yourself and instead celebrate others," he said, "and there are so many talented people who contributed to this film."
The Golden Globes splits movies into two groups for Best Picture, and Best Actor and Actress: there's the Drama category, which tends to dominate at the Academy Awards, and Musical and Comedy. Hooper was quick to point out that all five Best Director nominees had films on the Drama side of the ledger. "So at least there's some logic to it, and I'm certainly in good company with ['Silver Linings Playbook' director] David O. Russell."
Directors Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln"), Ben Affleck ("Argo"), Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty"), Ang Lee ("Life of Pi") and Quentin Tarantino ("Django Unchained") were all nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Hooper had high praise for Anne Hathaway, who is a favorite to win both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. "I was watching the film at the premiere the other night, and the thing I realized about 'I Dreamed a Dream' is that she never goes over the top," he said. "She opened something that day -- she was very upset. But she never did anything false."
Hooper knew the fourth take was the one that would make it into the movie, he said, but Hathaway insisted on singing the song a few more times just to be sure.
He also recalled a moment in an early scene set in a factory when Hathaway felt compelled to prove her mettle to the English stage veterans she worked alongside. At one point, she fell and split her knee open, but she insisted on carrying on. "She was very stoic," Hooper recalled. "I said, 'Annie, your knee, it's bleeding,' but she just said, 'I'm fine, I'm fine.'"
Hooper gave Hugh Jackman, who plays Jean Valjean, the unfairly persecuted fugitive at the center of the film, credit for persuading Universal to back the $60 million project. "There haven't been many 'through-song' musicals," he said, referring to the way the cast sings basically throughout the entire film instead of alternating between spoken dialogue and sung numbers.
"There have been two, in fact: 'Evita' and 'Tommy.' And neither of them were sung live. The history of through-sung musicals doesn't offer much cause for optimism, from a box-office perspective." To cinch the deal, Hooper shot video of Jackman, in casual clothes, singing three of Valjean's big songs -- "Soliloquy," "Who Am I?" and "Bring Him Home" -- and sent it to the studio. "That's what sold them," he said.
It was Hooper himself who commissioned the nominated song, "Suddenly." Reading the book, he was moved by the passage in which Valjean discovers the meaning of love after adopting young Cosette. "It's really underplayed in the musical," he said, "but I think his discovery of love is as important as the discovery of faith from the opening."
Composer Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyricist Alain Boublil reunited for the first time in 26 years to write the song, he said. The rest of the score and songs are ineligible for awards, because they are not original to the film.
"Les Miserablés" opens in U.S. theaters on Dec. 25.