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When it was announced that Anne Hathaway (above, with Hugh Jackman) would be playing impoverished French prostitute Fantine in the upcoming Les Miserables film musical, most self-respecting musical-theater nerds made a noise that sounded like something between a guttural wail and a keening moan. (Not coincidentally, it also sounded a bit like the opening notes of Catherine Zeta-Jones' performance of "Send in the Clowns" at the 2010 Tonys. Zing. I went there. And yes, I also went to musical theater camp for four years; what of it?) Now, it seems that our worst fears have come to fruition after Perez Hilton leaked an early version of a Les Mis trailer, featuring Hathaway's less-than-confident vocals on the show-stopping "I Dreamed a Dream" number.
For those of you who didn't spend your formative years making lists of dream roles instead of playing Spin-the-Bottle or MASH, Hathaway's character is a TB-ridden beggar woman who, after having been abandoned by the father of her child, must turn tricks on the street in order to survive. "I Dreamed a Dream" is the character's final lament before she succumbs to her illness, and it has been covered by such vocal powerhouses as Aretha Franklin, Elaine Paige, Susan Boyle, Patti LuPone, and Rachel Berry from Glee. So it's a bit of a shock to hear Hathaway's rendition, which sounds like a failed audition for a juniors version of Les Mis at Demarest Regional Valley High School.
Granted, the quality of Perez's clip is pretty crappy, so we're probably not getting the most accurate sense of Hathaway's vocals from the recording. Furthermore, Hathaway is gorgeous and talented and she's proven she can sing before; in fact, I remember being particularly impressed by her rendition of Queen's "Somebody to Love" on the Ella Enchanted soundtrack (whatever, don't pretend like we didn't all watch that movie on HBO multiple times in 2005). Still, if you're one of the many people who completely butcher "I Dreamed a Dream" in the shower every morning (and in the car on the way to work, at karaoke night, etc.), you might want to ask yourself if it'll be worth shelling out thirteen bucks to see Hathaway do the same on the big screen.