Tom Hooper has revealed he put movie stars like Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway through their paces for Les Miserables.
The Oscar-winning King's Speech filmmaker ensured that the star-studded cast, which also includes Hugh Jackman, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen, auditioned for their roles.
"For a musical, everyone accepted that they had to audition for the roles because of the particular need to both sing and act. So I had someone like Russell Crowe auditioning, and I don't think Russell has had to audition for a movie for many years," he told MTV.com.
"The list of actresses who auditioned for Fantine was outrageous. It was like half a dozen of the biggest female movie stars on the planet all wanted to play the role. The competition was insane, and they were all willing to go through the auditioning process."
The British director reckons he has made the right decision to cast Anne in the role of Fantine.
"It was rather wonderful and some poetic justice that Anne Hathaway ends up getting the role given that her mother was the understudy for Fantine on the American tour when she was growing up," he explained.
"The first day of filming, she actually wore her mother's Les Mis cast jacket from all those years ago. When she sings I Dreamed A Dream... it is quite extraordinary. This performance, it is quite breathtaking. She went to this incredibly raw and intense place to play this role."
Les Miserables will be released in January 2013.