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

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25 Dec 2012

Aaron Tveit
Aaron Tveit

Aaron Tveit, the powerhouse young actor who brought electricity to Broadway's Next to Normal and Catch Me If You Can, is now appearing in the film of Les Misérables, and has a new TV series. Playbill catches up.

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Enjolras — the committed, charismatic firebrand at the barricades in Les Misérables, and a Tony-winning role for Michael Maguire in the original Broadway production — is hardly a shy, retiring type, but he has been surprisingly M.I.A. at all the international red-carpet premieres of the picture save for one — New York City. (The film gets officially and widely released Dec. 25.)

The reason for this conspicuous omission is that Aaron Tveit — the actor who plays him in the epic visualization of Victor Hugo's 1862 novel and its 1985 stage musical translation by Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer — was in "Graceland" at the time. He has been since Halloween and will be till early spring.

This particular Graceland is not Elvis Presley's home in Memphis but a beach house in Southern California — and, true to curious Hollywood logic, it has been replicated in Fort Lauderdale, FL, for a crime series that will debut on the USA Network in May.

"I'm playing an undercover FBI agent, and basically it's a true story," the actor said by phone after a tough day of toiling on sand and surf. "In the 1990s, the FBI seized the mansion of a former cartel head who was so Elvis-obsessed he decorated his home like Graceland — and the law actually used this place in Southern California as a safe house for undercover FBI/DEA/Customs agents up until right after 9/11."

Meanwhile back at the barricades, Tveit admitted he had seen the Les Miz movie — twice! — and has no problem shilling his little soul out for it. "I'm so, so proud of that film," he trilled. "Y'know, sometimes when you're working on a project, you can sense what you're doing is different or special — and it really had that kind of feeling.

"For one thing, they had six full weeks' rehearsal before filming, which is unheard of. I had four and a half weeks' myself. It was like a play, blocking it out on mock sets."



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