On the Friday night before Christmas, Pitt St Mall in the CBD is usually a festive mixture of mayhem and mania, but this year it will also factor in a large chunk of Miserables.
Last-minute shoppers will be making way for guests and gawkers on and around the red carpet for the Sydney premiere of Les Miserables tonight, the third and final premiere that the Oscar-tipped film will receive.
Guests are due to start arriving from 5.30pm with the screening scheduled to begin at 7pm.
Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe are set to join director Tom Hooper and producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh to walk the red carpet which will run the length of the mall before turning right to lead right up to the State Theatre doors.
For Jackman, the homecoming marks a welcome relief after two much smaller but far more nerve-wracking screenings. “My aunty is French, and a big film buff, and always unfortunately, honest with me about everything I do,” he says. “She was the one I was most nervous about. And she was nervous about the French, the musical has never been as popular there, but she loved it and She said to me ‘Victor Hugo would be proud’.”
“Then I had the unbelievable honour of having the opportunity to watch it with the Emperor’s son in Japan. Throughout the entire thing it was wonderful. He was making so many noises at all the right times that I kept nudging Tom Hooper and saying ‘I think he likes it’.”
Jackman has been surprised by every audience response to Les Miserables. “It’s been a different ride for me. I’ve done enough movies to know this one feels different,” he explains. “Both times I’ve seen it with an audience have been very different. I was surprised, they were clapping throughout.”
Hooper agrees, noting that “there’s something terribly exciting about seeing this with a thousand people in a big room. In London they applauded I think twelve times during the film, in New York fourteen or fifteen times. Then in the final scene where there’s this massive barricade, they started clapping at the beginning of the scene and went straight through. I’ve never seen anything like it on any film.
“On top of that as the film ends you hear this extraordinary sound of sort of rustling and you realise you’re hearing the sound of hundreds of people crying. It’s like little animals rummaging through the undergrowth, it’s a very weird sound. The first time I heard it, I was like, is this a technical problem with the sound?”
Jackman has enjoyed the tears as much as the cheers. “Yes, you could visibly see and hear people crying at the end which is an amazing feeling to be part of that.”
Not that he is planning for tonight to end in tears. "This actually is our last premiere for the movie that I know of. It feels great to be back at home. Tonight there’s no game plan, the wheels may come off a little bit tonight."