STAGE TO SCREENS: Aaron Tveit, Atop the Barricades in the Les Miz Movie

By Harry Haun
25 Dec 2012

Tveit at the Dec. 10 New York film premiere
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Throughout the film, he wears a look of constant consternation — as well he should, being a rebel with a cause. "Since he has never been in love, there's a huge conflict when Marius strays from the cause and the commitment. Enjolras is, like, 'What are you doin', dude? We're supposed to be doing this together. This is everything that we've worked for.' These guys are facing their imminent death, and Enjolras really carries the weight of that around by himself. When he knows that they're doomed — basically, he has killed his friends — there's tremendous weight in that knowledge.

"Earlier in the film, as the other guys are goofing off and maybe playing at this revolution, I think Enjolras is the only one who knows the immense risk and stakes involved. I think he's wise beyond his years in that regard. Where some of the other guys may think it's a song and a good time, Enjolras knows that this is for real."

Sure enough, regardless of the medium, the piper is still paid. On stage, a mortally wounded Maguire wound up beautifully draped over the barricade. On film [SPOILER ALERT!], a bullet-riddled Tveit comes flying out of a window into a similar artistic formation.

"We shot my death scene a couple of times. I think I fell out of the window while they shot at me maybe three times, but I was totally rigged. I went out smack against the building and then had to hang upside down for a bunch of minutes. It's such an iconic image from the stage production that they wanted to echo it in some way in the film. The ideals, the banners, that these students are holding up as a major theme in the film are symbolized by that image. It also represents the loss of innocence. It's a nod to the stage show, but it's nice they did something different."

It brings Tveit up short to realize he hasn't got his next musical lined up. "Y'know, I worked in development on Next to Normal for two or three years before we got to Broadway, and I first auditioned for Catch Me If You Can five years before we opened on Broadway, so the shows that I have worked on have been a part of my life for a long time. After this last year shooting the film and this pilot, it's the first time in ages I'm not working on a new musical. I literally dream about what I'm doing next."

Which is not to say he doesn't have some irons in the fire. He recently spent a week working with Angela Lansbury, Kelly Barrett and Aaron Lazar on an Anastasia musical — not a live-action version of the Ingrid Bergman/Yul Brynner/Helen Hayes picture of 1956, but the animated "Anastasia" that Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musicalized in 1997. "Terrence McNally wrote the book. It was a joy to spend that week working with them. I think that they're getting ready to do it in Moscow next year with a Russian cast. I believe that next year will be the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty so they're doing it in Moscow in conjunction with that."