Tom Hooper’s Cats might forever haunt countless moviegoers (and the VFX crew behind it), but Amanda Seyfried’s nightmares come from a different Hooper film entirely: Les Misérables, in which she played Cosette.
While Seyfried did not bash the 2012 musical adaptation itself during her Variety “Actors on Actors” sit-down with Vanessa Kirby, she did get candid about her performance. Specifically, she wishes she could re-do all of her singing, which Hooper recorded live on camera—a technique the director used once more in Cats.
“In my career I’ve had a lot of moments where I just felt complete regret,” Seyfried told Kirby during the interview, as first reported by IndieWire. “I wish I could redo Les Misérables completely because the live singing aspect, just... Ugh! I still have nightmares about it.”
Like the promotional circuit for Hooper’s feline flop, which obsessed over such bold leaps into the future as “digital fur technology,” the run-up to Les Miz 2012 also focused on the innovative nature of these live recordings, even if the move was not as groundbreaking as they suggested. But either way, the filming experience was apparently far from relaxing—and Seyfried, “from a very technical standpoint,” was “very unhappy with my singing.”
Seyfried believes that back in 2012, her voice simply was not up to the task of fully realizing the music’s grandiose swells. Speaking with Kirby, she compared the emotional release of singing to the catharsis an actor can find while crying in a scene. “Emoting through music and melody is so magical when you feel like you’ve really gotten there,” she said. “Your voice is where it needs to be, and as strong as it needs to be. And it wasn’t; I was very weak.”
But even if Seyfried—who also sang in the Mamma Mia! franchise and is now campaigning for best supporting actress in Mank—doesn’t think her pipes were up to the task in 2012, she’s confident things would be very different now.
“I’ve been working diligently ever since Les Misérables to... work on strengthening my voice and to have some stamina and my vibrato,” she said. Perhaps in a couple years we can take a stab at Les Miz... Here We Go Again!