Middletown Native Appears in ‘Les Misérables’ Film

Source: Times Herald-Record
Date: 2012 December 25
By: Timothy Malcolm

When Middletown native Aaron Tveit first heard about the film adaptation of Les Misérables, he heard Tom Hooper was directing and Hugh Jackman was attached. That was all the information he needed.

“They weren’t casting yet, but I got the script anyway,” said Tveit. “I was like, ‘You know what, I’m gonna put myself on tape.’ So I basically told my agents to send it somewhere.”

He taped himself playing lead role Marius Pontmercy; the tape reached the casting director, who invited him to an hourlong session with Hooper. Then another session. Then stars started attaching themselves — Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried. It got a little tense, but it worked out.

“I had tested for ‘Graceland,’ the pilot, and I found out Saturday that I got ‘Graceland,'” Tveit said. “Then Monday I got a call about Les Mis.” In one long weekend, the Middletown High School graduate, who has already starred on Broadway (Catch Me If You Can, Hairspray) and has appeared on a number of television shows and movies (“Gossip Girl,” “Ugly Betty”) had scored a windfall.

“By the time it rolled in, I couldn’t grasp what was happening,” he said. “My parents were obviously so excited and proud, but they were rolling their eyes a little bit.”

Tveit plays Enjolras, leader of the student revolutionaries in 19th century France. He sings quite a bit in the film (“Do You Hear the People Sing?,” “One Day More,” “ABC Café/Red and Black”) and sports a mop of curly blonde hair.

Tveit first saw Les Miserables on a Middletown High School trip to New York City. Going in, he didn’t think he knew anything about the musical, but upon watching the epic, which initially ran for 16 years on Broadway, he realized the songs of Les Misérables were already ingrained into his mind.

“It’s almost part of our American pop culture, in a way,” he said.

Meanwhile, that pilot “Graceland” will begin this summer on the USA network. Tveit stars in that drama as a clean-cut FBI agent who is thrown into an investigation operation with DEA and U.S. Customs agents. But for now, Les Misérables takes the spotlight.

“It’s been a surreal experience for me,” Tveit said about the movie. “Everyone in the theater community is rallying around it. It’s a testament to how great this film is. Sometimes you work on stuff and you know it’s something special; we knew that in rehearsals early on.”