Penguins of Madagascar

Written by Role Mommy Wing Mom, Danielle Feigenbaum and Role Mommy Kid Reporters

Thumbnail image for POM-1Sht.jpg Penguins of Madagascar are back in their very own feature film – coming to theaters this Thanksgiving, November 26th! My lucky kids had a chance to meet THE Penguins (Skipper, Kowalski, Rico & Private), get a penguin painted on their face, feed some real penguins and get a sneak peek at the Penguins of Madagascar movie! This super fun day at The Bronx Zoo, courtesy of DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox, had my kids dancing with penguins, coloring, riding the merry-go-round, eating yummy food and sporting some 3-D glasses for a special screening. The reviews are in, both kids give it two enthusiastic thumbs up!
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A little bit about the film… Super spy teams aren’t born…they’re hatched. Discover the secrets of the greatest and most hilarious covert birds in the global espionage biz: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. These elitists of the elite are joining forces with a chic undercover organization, The North Wind. Led by handsome and husky Agent Classified (we could tell you his name, but then…you know), voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. Together, they must stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine, voiced by John Malkovich, from destroying the world as we know it. The movie Stars the voices of – Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Jeong, Annet Mahendru, Peter Stormare and John Malkovich.
According to my kid reporters… “The characters were all lovable and adorable, even the evil ones. A couple of jokes went a little over our heads, but all the grown ups seemed to get them and laughed really hard. There is also a nice lesson to be learned, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Everyone should go see this movie over Thanksgiving weekend.”
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Visit the Official Website
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Check out the trailer here, and discover the untold story of these hilarious penguins on November 26th at a theater near you!
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RIO 2! In Theaters This Friday

Written by Role Mommy’s Danielle Feigenbaum

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The delightful cast of RIO is back in the hilarious, fun-filled sequel, RIO 2 that will have you dancing in your seats. Whether you see it in 3-D or not, you will be swept away by the amazing scenery and be transported to the Amazon.
My husband, kids (ages 10 and 7) and I were lucky enough to see an advanced screening of the film and attend an awesome RIO 2 pool party! First, I want to tell you about the movie, then we’ll get to the party. RIO 2 finds Jewel (Anne Hathaway), Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and their three kids leaving their domesticated life in that magical city for a journey to the Amazon. They encounter a menagerie of characters who are born to be wild, voiced by Oscar nominee Andy Garcia, Oscar/Emmy/Tony-winner Rita Moreno, Grammy winner Bruno Mars, and Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth.
My kids have been listening to the soundtrack from the film every single day, dancing around the house. They know every word by heart, and so do I. Take a listen to one of the fantastic tracks… “What is Love” Lyrics Video by Janelle Monáe
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After the screening, we headed next door to Le Parker Meridien Hotel for the rocking pool party! Waiting on the elevator line the woman in front of us (who happened to be Natalie Morales from NBC News and is the voice of the reporter in the movie) was chatting with my kids about their favorite part of the movie. She was really sweet. Once inside the party room we felt like we were in the jungle of the amazon. I try not to get star struck but when Edie Falco is on one side of you with her kids and Jeffrey Tambor is on the other side, it’s hard not to smile from ear to ear.
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We enjoyed yummy food and great music. There were Brazilian dancers with beautiful, colorful, feathery costumes! We got on the dance floor and did a little samba/salsa type of dancing. Then the kids changed into their suits and had a blast swimming (any time my kids can swim in NY when it’s not the summer, they are psyched!) The pool was filled with beach balls and pool noodles and the DJ was playing all the songs from the two RIO movies. It was paradise and we completely forgot that we were on the top floor of an NYC hotel.
There were so many fun memories from the day, but I think my daughter (who LOVES to play the piano and has been playing since she was six) meeting the crazy-talented Alicia Keys was a major highlight! She was so incredibly nice and even posed for a picture with my daughter, which is now a treasured keepsake.
Here are the kids with one of the nicest Directors around, Carlos Saldanha. Not to mention super talented! He took some time to chat with my kids about the movie. How cool is that?
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We all really enjoyed this movie. Everyone should take the family to see it this weekend. It opens nationwide this Friday, April 11th! And trust me, you will want to download the soundtrack as well so you too can have nightly dance parties!
RIO 2 stars the voices of Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Will i am, Jemaine Clement, Tracy Morgan, Leslie Mann, George Lopez, Rodrigo Santoro, Andy Garcia, Rita Moreno, Natalie Morales, Kristin Chenoweth, and Jamie Foxx.
Connect with RIO 2 Online – #Rio2
Visit the Official Website
Like Rio 2 on Facebook
Follow @RioMovie on Twitter
View the trailer and clips on YouTube
Follow on Google+

The Book Thief

Written by Role Mommy Contributor, Kristin Flannery

The Book Thief, based on the beloved bestselling novel, is a deeply , moving movie which tells the inspiring story of a spirited and courageous young girl named Liesel, who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a foster family in World War II Germany. Rolemommy sat down with Director Brian Percival (best known for directing PBS’ Downton Abbey) and Author Markus Zusak to discuss taking a novel to film.
The story and its characters sprang from the imagination of author Markus Zusak
whose novel The Book Thief was published in his native Australia in 2005 and throughout the rest of the world in 2006. The book has sold eight million copies worldwide, held a place on The New York Times best-seller list for almost seven years and has been translated into over 30 languages. Rolemommy correspondent, Kristin Flannery, was actually introduced to the novel by her niece when she read it in high school on her reading list. So we were wondering, how does an author write such an incredible book and how does he channel the character of death?
Markus opened up to us about how listening to his parents’ stories helped him create such rich characters, “I don’t know to tell you the truth. I don’t know anything anymore. I think a different version of me wrote that book. I couldn’t write it again now. To me, it all started with my childhood, growing up in Sydney, beautiful sunshine. And then, you come in and it’s like a piece of Europe came into our house, and my parents told their stories, and they’re amazing stories about cities that were burning, kids who were giving bread to prisoners on their way to camps and getting whipped for it and so on. I grew up hearing these stories over and over again.”
Being a parent means that you take a different look at your own parents’ history and how they lived. Markus believes, “Just, don’t be afraid to tell the stories again and again and again, because I’ve realized now that my mom is 76-years-old and she still cleans people’s houses for a living. My dad was a housepainter and he still paints. He painted my house. He didn’t do a very good job the last time. His eyes are getting a bit shot. But that’s funny, a housepainter, a housecleaner, and there they were telling me their stories of growing up and I realized they weren’t only telling me about their lives. They were teaching me how to write. Talk about you would never imagine that people in those professions would give you a career in literature, but that’s exactly how I grew up.”
Being a Director on a film based off of a novel has it’s challenges, what do you keep in and what gets cut? Director Brian Percival took us through the process, “Well, you know, a lot of decisions had been done already by the time I got this because the screenplay had been in existence for about six to seven years before the time was right to make it because it was done quite early on. For the producers it was a labor of love. It really was. It was a very important project to them, and they were emotionally attached to it. And so, the time was right for them to make it and fortunately, I was in the right place at the right time. I read the screenplay, and I’d never ever read anything like it. I wasn’t–shamefully I wasn’t aware of the book. I stayed up really late. I was shooting something else, and I stayed up really late one night and then finished at 1:30 in the morning and just e-mailed off to Los Angeles and said, “You know, if I don’t do anything else in my life, I’ve got make this film.” So a lot of those decisions had been made. When it actually comes to make the film, obviously I get pictures in my head of how I want it to look, but we’ve got a 580 page guidebook on how to make the film. We never really wanted to come away from Markus’ vision and his message. We just wanted it to reach a wide variety and to be in a different medium.”
There’s some really beautiful contrasts in the movie. Like, there’s that scene where–the choir scene–and they all look so angelic and they’re so proud. Then they start sort of the second verses, and they’re horrible. Was there a scene anytime in the shooting where you kind of felt this is it, this is the most surreal?
Brian reflected, “No. I mean, not particular. See, the film is full of contrast. That was always my intention. But you see the innocence of those children. They’re singing something so proudly that they think is so beautiful. And then, you see–we’re given the brutality of the truth of what actually happened. But there’s contrast right the way through. When you see Rudy in a Nazi uniform, part of you is saying, “Oh, what a cute kid,” and the other part’s going, “Oh, he’s–but he’s becoming a Nazi.” In a lot of films Nazis are always being portrayed as generally I think one dimensional. They’re evil guys with the blonde hair and the chiseled jaw or whatever. And we get the teacher that comes to take Rudy to the camp for elite training. He looks incredibly tough, but he’s actually a bit stupid. There were always things in there that I tried to create contrasts and that was the important thing to me. I had to work on more than one level so that we would see something and then we would actually question it.”
You know that a novel is amazing when you are sad at the end because you want to know more. Did the story end for you at the end of book or do you know what happened to all the characters after? Do you know how Liesel finds growing up and what Max did for a living?
book thief author and director.JPG Turns out that we are not the only ones who want to know what happens beyond the pages. Markus has fans all over the world, “Someone came up to me. A few people have said, “I really wanted to know what happened between them. I feel like I just cut to the end of her life.” I’m like, “How long did you want the book to be?” It’s like 500 pages. Just make me write another 3,000 pages while we’re at it. So, I always imagine that Max goes his way and Liesel goes her way, but they have this kindred relationship their whole lives, but that is just me. Everyone else has their own take, but I have several reasons why.”
Even Director Brian Percival has his thoughts on the ending, “That’s part of the beauty of it for me is that we leave the reader or the audience to make up their own mind and that’s ultimately satisfying.”
Book Thief can be seen currently in theaters but to see more clips and information, log on to www.thebookthief.com

Role Mommy Talks to the Stars of THE BOOK THIEF

Written by Role Mommy Contributor, Kristin Flannery

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Based on the beloved bestselling book, THE BOOK THIEF tells the inspirational story of a spirited and courageous young girl (Sophie Nelisse) who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a new family (Geoffrey Rush & Emily Waston) in World War II Germany. Rolemommy sat down to discuss the film.
Though audiences might not know SOPHIE NÉLISSE (Liesel) right away, at the young age of 13, she has already won a Genie Award for her performance in Monsieur Lazhar which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year in 2012.
Since Sophie is so young but very talented, we wondered how she felt working with a seasoned professional such as Geoffrey Rush. Sophie told us, “Well, it was fun, but at the same time it was kind of hard because you know the scene when Max vomits the soup. I say, “Is he going to be all right?” And then, he would go, “Of course… not.” And that was just so funny. I would do the scene, and you can hear him, he’d go, “Of course.” I would start laughing, and I had to be serious. It was just so fun to work with him and to see how he gets every detail of the scene. I’d be looking at the scene and go, “Okay, so that’s it.” And then, he’s going to go, “No, no, no, why is my character doing this?” Every little detail, like maybe I should throw the spoon or maybe I should do this there or change my legs there, and it’s just how every scene is so detailed. I remember going in rehearsals with him and he had the book with all these little posters saying, “this there,” just underlying all this writing. I’m quite organized myself. I did have a lot of post its saying like, “this scene and this scene,” but I didn’t have any links from the book because I actually didn’t read the book. But he just details everything and it’s really interesting. It’s amazing to just see him work really.”
Sophie even memorized the whole script. She revealed that she would often help Geoffrey remember his lines, “He would stop the scene and go, “I can’t remember what I’m saying.” And so, I’d have to tell him his line but that’s fine.
We were wondering if Sophie has ever stolen anything. Sophie told us a story of when they were filming in Berlin, “I stole some books because it was the birthday of someone on set and I had nothing to buy. There was this shop right in front of the hotel, and I just said, “I’m going to steal some books.” So, I took three random books and left. Eventually, I figured out like a week after that my mom paid for the books. It was kind of a bummer because it like sort of ruined my fun. But at the same time I was happy that she paid for them because I don’t steal.”
Geoffrey let us know that he was in on it, “I said, “I’ll encourage Soph to do it and everything,” but I knew that she’d warned the shop staff. She wanted to do that just to feel the adrenaline.”
A huge part of the theme of the movie is about friendships. We wanted to know what Sophie learned about friendships during the filming of the Book Thief. Turns out, she proved to once again be wise beyond her age, “Oh, that friends are really important and that you don’t have to have many good friends. People just going around saying like, “Oh, I have 500 friends on Facebook,” but no. You only have the good friends you can only count on your hands, you know? And I would say that I have three, three good friends that I know that’ll never change.”
Don’t miss Sophie Nelisse and Geoffrey Rush in their beautiful performances as they bring to life the characters of The Book Thief, an adaptation of Markus Zusak’s 2006 novel of the same title in theaters in limited release November 8th. There is already Oscar buzz surrounding these performances, see for yourself in the latest trailer –
http://youtu.be/rMVa2bMhro4
 

ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US Review

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Some of the reviews from my car after a preview screening of ONE DIRECTION:THIS IS US were “Amazing”, “I love them even more” and… “Such nice boys… their mother’s must be so proud”. Guess which one was from the mother in the car. Yes, you guessed it but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the boys in One Direction after seeing their new documentary in theaters now.
ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US is an all-access look at life on the road for the global music phenomenon. Weaved with stunning live concert footage, this inspiring feature film tells the remarkable story of Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis’ meteoric rise to fame, from their humble hometown beginnings and competing on the X-Factor, to conquering the world and performing at London’s famed O2 Arena.
My daughters were so obsessed by them that I let them go with another mom friend of mine and stand in line for hours to see them perform on the Ellen Show. They blast their music in the car, in their rooms and when walking down the street. They buy their novelty shirts, magazines about them and even write 1D on their hands. I grew up very familiar with the boy band craze and I may have even been one of those nutty fans so I figured this was just my turn to be the mother who told their daughters to stop worshiping these one hit wonders until I saw this documentary. Now I have a new found love of One Direction myself.
The film begins giving viewers a detailed account (including audition tapes) of these young singers when they auditioned for the X Factor UK version. They all got cut as solo artists but Simon Cowell brought them together with the foresight to see them as a great boy band. What surprised even Cowell was how well received they were by the fans who kept them alive in the voting until the finale when they were not crowned the winners. Probably the best loss anyone can suffer. Fans were the ones who built their awareness up by Tweeting and Social networking about them so much that they were so popular without even having an album out yet! 
Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) directed this documentary in 3D and while I could have done without that, I can still imagine the “wow” factor that even teenage girl feels as band member Harry Styles come flying out of the screen in to your lap during the concert footage. I was also a little more curious about how these boys could possibly find the time to date and while there were lots of girls crying in the audience, we did not get to see them with any girls who weren’t their moms. Speaking of moms and as a mom, I could not help but relate to one of the boy’s moms when she was traveling to their concert and lamenting that a mom should be showing her son the world but that her son was showing it to her. I couldn’t help but tear up when another spoke to his mom when she had just picked up the keys to her new house that he had purchased for her.
While I walked in to the movie a skeptic, I left there wanting to run home to purchase more One Direction music off of itunes for my “daughters”. Don’t miss ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US in theaters now.
Website: http://1DThisIsUs-movie.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/onedirectionmusic
Twitter: Twitter.com/1DThisIsUs

This is 40

Written by Role Mommy Contributor, Kristin Torgen Flannery.

TI40_BATH1SHT_RGB_0925_2_SM.jpg Rolemommy sat down with the stars of UNIVERSAL PICTURES’ THIS IS 40 – PAUL RUDD AND LESLIE MANN & writer/director JUDD APATOW. Five years after Apatow introduced us to Pete and Debbie in Knocked Up, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprise their roles as a husband and wife both approaching a milestone meltdown in “This Is 40,” an unfiltered, comedic look inside the life of an American family. “This is 40” premiere in theaters December 21st.
Question: How do you stop your husband (Producer/Writer Judd Apatow from writing some of this stuff like the therapy stuff, or do you just go like, “Really?” At what point do you tell him that “I don’t really think we need to reveal that”?
Leslie Mann: Well, he doesn’t write anything without–I mean, it’s a conversation between us, beforehand, so, it’s not like he’s doing anything behind my back. So, we do it together, so, it’s no surprise.
Question: It’s great because it rings true for every single different aspect. We’ve been talking about it ever since we saw it last night. Like, “Oh, yes, remember this and the yelling and the this?” So, it’s amazing that audiences can relate.
Leslie Mann: I’m happy about that. I’m happy that people can leave there feeling like they’re not the only ones going through some of those things and they don’t have to feel terrible about themselves after. When you go and watch movies where couples are perfect couples, which I hate, and then I leave the movie thinking that something’s terribly wrong with me, you can leave this movie feeling like you’re okay and something’s terribly wrong with Pete and Debbie.
Question: Do you and your husband get away and reconnect like Debbie and Pete did in the movie?
Leslie Mann: Literally, it takes less than 24 hours to come back together. And we could both just be losing our minds and then go to a hotel nearby and then just rent a movie and eat dinner and then just hang out together. We’re just grounded again. And it doesn’t take much more than that. I mean, it’s nicer to have extra time.
Question: There is a scene in the movie where Debbie and Pete are going round and round with their daughters yelling “shut up” and no one has control. Does that happen to you in real life?
Paul Rudd: I had the reverse thing where my son when he was about three was going through that phase where he didn’t want my wife and I to talk to each other. And whenever we would just be at home and we were talking to each other, he would say, “Don’t talk.” And I remember saying to him, “Your mom and I are going to talk. We just are.” And he goes, “No, I don’t want you to.” And I said, “Well tough, you’re just going to have to get used to it. It’s good that mommy and daddy talk.” And so then, we would continue the conversation, and he would just at this said, “No, stop talking. Stop talking.” We kept talking. He kept saying stop talking. We kept talking. And finally, he yelled, “Action.” And we looked at him, and he said, “When I yell ‘action,’ you’re not allowed to talk.” And I realize he’s been to too many sets that I have been working on. And then I started laughing so hard at that, and then he started laughing, and then he just went, “Cut.”
Question: So, did you have the “I’m turning 40 freak-out” in real life?
Leslie Mann: Yes. No, I feel like I have lunches or get-togethers with my girlfriends who are the same age every once in a while, and sometimes those meetings are really hard, and we’re all crying, and we all hate our husbands, and we all want to run away, and we all dream about some better life. And then some days we get together, and we’re all really happy with our husbands and love our kids and are happy with everything. It’s literally like riding this wave. We’re just going with it. And I don’t know what that means or where it’s going to take me. I’ve been asking some older women when that ends, and they say it doesn’t end, that it only gets worst, to enjoy this time right now, which is weird.
Question: Well, that scene when the older lady says, “You close your eyes and you blink and you’re 90”.
Leslie Mann: “And you blink and your 90”? Yes.
Rolemommy also sat down with Judd Apatow…
Question: We are wondering how do you get inspired to write about your own life? Do you just write it and you say this will make a great screenplay or I’m going to do a screenplay?
Judd Apatow: When I start, I don’t really know what form it’s going to take, so I just started making notes, and I’ll just write out in lists of moments. And then, I’ll put them on cards and lay them out on a giant table, and then, slowly a story begins to reveal itself. So, I knew I wanted to talk about their birthday and the meltdown their having and they start doubting their marriage and doubting each other and things will just keep getting worse. I knew I wanted it to be a meltdown movie that would end with them rebonding. Some of it is also not wanting to take responsibility for what’s actually happening, so, it’s easier to blame your spouse than to think about what you’re been through in your life and what you’re bringing to the party. That was also a big theme in the movie.
Question: Judd and Leslie’s real life daughters also reprise their roles as Pete and Debbie’s daughters in the film. So, if your daughter is acting moody in the movie, does she think that’s what you think of her in real life?
Judd Apatow: I think that she knows that we’re calling ourselves out on our worst moments. And it’s not like we’re goofing on her but we’re not goofing on ourselves. I don’t know exactly how she processes it, but what I tell her is that the best thing you could do as a creative person is to share your story with people because it makes other people feel less alone and it makes them feel better. There are a lot of people having these struggles. So, for her, I’m sure on some levels she realizes, “Oh, this is sibling rivalry. This is getting very emotional when you’re a kid and your brain isn’t fully formed yet,” and we’re very open about that. I’ll sit and read the book, Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy in front of my kids. And I’ll read passages out loud, and then just go, “Your brain is not built yet. You don’t know how to self-soothe. So, I’m leaving the room for two hours while you do whatever you want to do.”
Question: You talk about writing as a form of self-exploration. And what did you learn about yourself or your marriage that you may not have already known when you did the film?
Judd Apatow: What’s helpful for me is to deeply think through Leslie’s point of view ’cause it’s so easy to just think, “I’m right. She’s annoying,” So, to have to write her point of view and show the effect of certain behaviors that I have or men have is helpful. And one thing that Leslie pointed out to me a long time ago was this idea of being shut down as a man feels like a terrible rejection. Where a guy might just want to zone out and go on the computer or read the paper, he thinks, “I’m not doing anything. Why would you be mad at me? I’m just sitting here.” But that act is hostile.
Question: And don’t have someone yelling at you or–I loved how you did the separation of the kids when you missed them. You realized they were good kids because that means a lot, as moms, really. When someone’s not constantly yelling at you or telling you to shut up.
Judd Apatow: Oh, yes. And I’m so awful sometimes with the kids. I’ve become a kid when I fight with them. I totally lose adult head. Maude always wants a ride and doesn’t tell me in advance. So at 6:00 when I’m like, “The movie just started and we’re about to just sit for two hours,” she’ll be like, “I need a ride in 15 minutes to this bowling alley.” And I’m just like, “You live in a fantasyland and this is not happening.” And I’ll fight with her like I’m 12 years old. I just go at her so hard. I’ll just be like, “There’s no way it’s happening, so just enjoy not going.”
Question: This movie really feels like a love letter to Leslie. I’m watching it, and her performance is just extraordinary. How is it for you to be able to shoot a movie starring your wife and being able to show her extraordinary range?
Judd Apatow: I’ve always thought that she was great and had the potential to do all sorts of interesting things, but Hollywood, there are very few scripts which give you those opportunities. There are very few movies just about people that don’t have gigantic action elements or superheroes. This world of the small human drama comedy is tiny. We don’t get that many of them. We get more of it on television. So, if I don’t write it, it’s a longshot that it will just suddenly appear. I was happy to be able to tailor something to what I observe about her. And that’s what I like about the movie and with the kids, which is because it’s a real family, I can show details that most people would never get into a movie, and you could tell they love each other and are angry with each other, and it just feels like life more than if I just hired some stranger kid to be in it. And Leslie’s so funny and has been the person that has inspired me to be as truthful as I am in the work. Because she doesn’t really consider herself a comedian, so, it’s more like I live with a serious actress, and I’m being influenced by her interest and honesty, and then I can keep my comedy going.
Question: Where do your stories come from?
Judd Apatow: There are so many variations of those stories, the second family. I’ve had so many friends and in my family where someone’s dad has kids. And even at our kids there are a lot of parents that are older parents. And I think a lot of people are taking care of their parents now. People live for a really long time. And then at some point the relationship flips and you have to take care of them. And especially in a bad economy, suddenly, parents can’t retire any more, and it creates a lot of stress. So, I was trying to think of the most stressful possible situations and then get really funny people to play them. And also to show that if you have a parent who’s really overbearing and engulfing, you want to hide in the bathroom. And if you have a parent that kind of disappeared, you’re constantly wanting more, and that that’s affecting how they treat each other.
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Take a look at the trailer and go see “This is 40,” which hits theaters December 21st.

Les Miserables…Bring Tissues & Get Ready for a Musical Masterpiece…

Les Misérables Hits Theaters Christmas Day

LMB_1Sheet.jpg Have you ever walked out of a film with tears streaming down your face convinced it’s one of the best you’ve ever seen in your lifetime? Well get ready for a feature film that’ll literally take your breath away when Les Misérables arrives in theaters on Christmas Day.
The film takes place during the French revolution and tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption–a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Hugh Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (played by the brilliant Russell Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (uber talented Anne Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette (Isabelle Allen and Amanda Seyfried), their lives change forever.
I recently got the chance to meet the stars of “Les Miserables” and here’s what they had to say about this musical masterpiece:
Hugh Jackman on taking on the role of Jean Valjean:
To me (it’s) one of the most beautiful journeys ever written, and I didn’t take the responsibility of playing the role lightly. I think it’s one of the greatest opportunities I’ve ever had. And if I’m a tenth of the man Jean Valjean is, I’ll be a very happy man.
Hugh Jackman on his incredible transformation in the film:
We’ve actually have an opportunity here for all the characters to show time, scale, all these things. So, he (Academy award-winning director Tom Hopper) said, “I want to make you unrecognizable. And if people in your life aren’t saying that you’re sick, something’s wrong, what’s going on with you,” he says, “Then you haven’t gone far enough.”
LMB__HUGH_0927_RGB_1_SM.JPG So, I did lose a lot of weight and then had the joy of putting weight on, which was a 30 pound journey from the beginning. But, I have to say all that pales in comparison to what this lady next to me did (Anne Hathaway), because at least I had time to prepare and do that. Annie was doing it over 14 days. I think you lost about 300 pounds in 14 days.
Anne Hathway on channeling the role of Fantine:
I came to the realization that I had been thinking about Fantine as someone who lived in the past, but she doesn’t…She’s living in New York City right now. She’s probably less than a block away. This injustice exists in our world. And so, every day that I was her I just thought, “This isn’t an invention. This isn’t me acting. This is me honoring that this pain lives in this world.” And I hope that in all of our lifetimes, like today, we see it end.
Samantha Barks as Eponine on crying in the rain:
I think that kind of realism in your voice adds to the emotion of that live singing. And especially in moments like “A Little Fall of Rain” with me and Eddie (Redmayne), it allows you to be so intimate. And we were crying, but kind of trying to add that to your voice. Because when you speak and you cry, you can hear it in someone’s voice. And to be able to hear that when somebody’s singing, I think that only adds to the emotion of it.
LMB__FANTINE.jpg Anne Hathaway on Hugh Jackman’s performance:
I just want to make sure that I impress upon everyone, I don’t want you to walk out of here charmed by Hugh Jackman, because we all know that he’s a miracle and we all know that he can get up and make friends with everyone and be totally friendly. And sometimes I think that keeps people from seeing his genius as an actor. What he does in this film is inspiring, and we were all inspired by him. He was absolutely our leader. So, I just don’t want his nice guy thing to distract you from the fact that he is a deep, serious, and profoundly gifted actor.
Hugh Jackman on making a difference in the lives of others:
I think in many places, but for all of us, the idea that the philosophy, that you don’t need to go to a top of a mountain in Tibet to find self realization. You don’t necessarily need to do great things or listen to spiritual leaders. The first thing we have to do is be present, know what you stand for in life, and face what is in front of you. And as Annie reminded me this morning, that’s that cop in Times Square, the humanity of just seeing what was required. And that’s real love.
Anne Hathaway on why the entire cast loved being a part of Les Miserables:
We’re all massive Les Mis geeks. And I think we’re all kind of like slightly worried that this is not really happening, that we’re all kind of in some strange, odd mutual trip. And we’re hallucinating. But, we were all such fans of it that I think we all showed up on the first day with enormous gratitude, as you said, that the responsibility of telling this story was entrusted to us.
Hugh Jackman on the camaraderie he experienced while filming Les Miserables:
I remember one of the first days of filming, I was singing the soliloquy, that first number in the church. And I remember the church was this beautiful little place in London, a real old church. And I came up the steps, these winding stone steps, and Annie was at the top there and she had tears in her eyes and she was hugging me. And I said, “Hey, what are you”–she goes, “I’m not going to miss this for the world.”
I’ve never known that on a film before. We were all kind of there for each other. It had the feeling of the closest stage show I’ve ever been involved with but it was a film, which is unusual. And yes, we’ll be bonded for life for what we went through.
Produced by Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh productions, Les Miserables opens in theaters on Christmas Day, December 25. Run, don’t walk to buy a ticket. It’s truly an experience you will remember for a lifetime.