Shalom Life | August 30, 2014

'Les Mis' Showdown: Lea vs. Scarlett vs. Evan vs. Taylor

Who will play Epinone in the new big-screen version of Les Mis?

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: December 1st, 2011 in Culture » Film » News

'Les Mis' Showdown: Lea vs. Scarlett vs. Evan vs. Taylor

Oscar-winning director, Tom Hooper, has revealed his shortlist for the character of Eponine in his upcoming big-screen version of Les Miserables, and the competition could not be any more… strange.

The final four (after a series of auditions) are Glee’s Lea Michele, country singer Taylor Swift, Scarlett Johansson, and Evan Rachel Wood. Not only are there no similarities between these four women, there’s a small part of me that believes you’d have to combine the talents of all four to produce a worthy Epinone.

Let’s break this down for a moment.

There is no doubt that Lea Michele has a brilliant voice and Broadway experience. She may, in fact, have the best-matched voice for the part, but is anyone going to believe that Rachel Berry is an impoverished girl that would die for the one she loves? A source informed the New York Post that Michele knocked her audition “out of the park”, and she does have experience with Les Mis as she previously played the role of Cossette. I guess I’ll keep her as a consideration.

Taylor Swift? She must have given a breathtaking audition. She has a pretty voice, but could this country singer sell “On My Own”? Also, I saw her in Valentine’s Day. Enough said.

Scarlett Johansson makes the most sense as a Hollywood casting choice for this film. She is probably the most popular of the four contenders, has strong acting chops, and has established herself as a singer… granted folk might not translate well into Victor Hugo drama, but for argument’s sake, let’s assume it does. My greatest concern is whether she physically fits the role. ScarJo is beautiful, but a little too mature and sophisticated… and voluptuous to effectively portray the young, innocent, and downtrodden Epinone.

Finally, we have Evan Rachel Wood. Similarly to Scarlett Johansson, she has the talent to back the role. Additionally, Wood has wide appeal, attracting both mainstream and indie viewers. But, Wood is edgy… and she can’t escape that. Epinone is the antithesis of edge. Therein lies the dilemma.

So, who to chose? Who do you think would make the best Epinone?

The new version of Les Miserables sees Eddie Redmayne as Marius, Russell Crowe as Javert, Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, and Geoffrey Rush as Thenardier.

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