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

By Harry Haun
25 Dec 2012

Tveit in "Les Misérables."
Universal Pictures
By the time Enjolras enters the novel as the magnetic leader of the ABC Club and tavern, he has already amassed a fascinating backstory, which Hugo promptly spills.

"In the first chapter with these guys, two pages are spent on each person, completely describing them. That was like gold for me as an actor. Enjolras' only love was liberty, and he was dedicated to the revolution, but he was a very gentle person. As far as women were concerned, he wasn't like the rest of his girl-crazy compatriots. He was so focused on the ideals of this revolution that anytime a young lady was around, he'd shamefully lower his eyes. Such an eloquent description of him! I literally printed out those two pages of his description of Enjolras and pasted on the front of my script. Every morning I would look it over before we began shooting."

The character first caught the actor's eye in the original Broadway Les Miz, circa the late '90s and sans Maguire. "I saw it once or twice when I was 15 and in the tenth grade," he recalled. "For people my age, it was a show that was really impactful. I'd seen shows before, but I think it was the first time I really had been emotionally invested in going to see a play on Broadway, and it really struck me. The heroic aspects really pulled me in. I remember it distinctly as being one of those shows that always stayed with me. Then, by the time I started working and got to New York, the timing was off. When I moved to New York, the original had closed and the revival was being cast and I was doing something else, so I kinda never got a chance to do it on stage. It was amazing to me that my first chance to be a part of it was in this film.

"I was always drawn to Enjolras and Marius because of the songs they get to sing."

The film deals his Enjolras a particular strong hand musically. "Basically, I sing the ABC Café song, which is the 'Red and Black' number and the 'Do You Hear the People Sing?' anthem. Also, it's the whole ensemble, but I have a great part in 'One Day More.' I get to sing a bunch. There's a lot of recitative and sung-through dialogue."