‘Les Mis’ editors took cues from music

Cuts had to align with score and key changes

In “Les Miserables,” Tom Hooper’s cinematic take on the classic stage musical, live singing performances posed fresh challenges for its two film editors.

During each performance, “You had to stay in sync with the music,” says editor Melanie Oliver. “To take time out, we worked with music editors to work out how many bars it would take to do certain edits. Composer Claude-Michel Schonberg uses many key changes, so you may end up putting a C sharp next to a B flat, which would sound really ugly.”

Between songs, the challenge was to keep the audience in the musical without rushing numbers, says editor Chris Dickens. Before “One Day More,” for example, “it didn’t feel right to stop, have a scene and start the music again. We intercut the song open as Cosette and her father are leaving, and you’re seeing Eponine with the (love) note.”

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