Les Miserables

This week, editor Vanessa tells us about putting together our fabulous Les Misérables book, which takes you behind the scenes of the stage and screen versions, and includes removeable facsimile memorabilia. Plus she reveals yet another reason for loving Hugh Jackman…

‘At last, after months of waiting, it’s out – yes, the film of Les Misérables for which its many fans all over the world have been waiting.  And where there’s a brilliant film, there’s also an opportunity for a great book (well, we think it is!). The idea was to produce a book that celebrated the global success of the stage version and gave a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, which revved up in pre-production early last year. With the thumbs-up from Cameron Mackintosh, Working Title and Universal Pictures, we were off.

From Stage to Screen

Les Mis may now be the recipient of a whole host of major awards and nominations (as I write, it’s already got three Golden Globes awards and nine BAFTA and eight Oscar nominations under its belt), but having seen first-hand a tiny bit of what went into it, everyone involved deserves a medal of some sort.  While our authors began writing and Cameron’s extremely able archivist, Rosy, together with her colleagues, delved through their archives, and our designers, production staff and I toiled away at the book, filming completed at Pinewood and the director Tom Hooper, Cameron, and a host of musicians and sound and film editors began the intense process of piecing together the film.

les mis package

It Could Be You

One of the best parts of working on the book was being invited on a set visit. At the end of May last year, I found myself sitting in the middle of a courtyard at Boughton House, in Northamptonshire, on a boiling hot day while crew scurried around, adjusting lights and sound equipment in order to film the crucial wedding and garret scenes.

In among a series of calls of “Quiet on set” and the sort of intense silences you probably only get in an exam room, I noticed a tall, slim figure in t-shirt and shorts coming through an archway.  I thought he looked a bit familiar, but I wasn’t sure.  As he moved from person to person, handing something out to each one, I didn’t think anything more until I, and my companion, were suddenly greeted by a friendly “Morning ladies, have a scratch card”.  As I accepted it, Cameron Mackintosh’s MD, Nick Allott, called out,  “Hey Vanessa, it’s not every day you get a lottery card from Hugh Jackman, is it?”

Er, no, it isn’t. And, still stuck in my handbag, is the card, which revealed a £2 win.  I’ve yet to cash it in – there were some envious faces in my office – and it may be one for the memento box.  Who knows, it might be the only time I get a lottery scratch card from a potential Oscar winner!’

Pre-order your book now – it’s out on the 28thFebruary.



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