This Christmas Day marks seven years since 2012’s Les Misérables hit the big screen and captivated audiences, ultimately winning Anne Hathaway an Oscar in the process for playing Fantine. To celebrate the movie musical’s seventh anniversary, Closer Weekly caught up with hair and makeup artist Paul Gooch to discuss the unique role he played in helping Anne, 37, achieve the look of the iconic movie’s tragic character.
“I have worked with Anne on several films now so, by the time we did Les Misérables, we knew each other well. Anne trusted me to create her look for Fantine from the get-go,” Paul — who received an Emmy nomination for 2000’s Jason and the Argonauts and won a BAFTA for 2011’s Alice in Wonderland — exclusively told Closer.
He recalled how he went to the Devil Wears Prada actress’ apartment in London and she sat in a chair not facing a mirror while he worked his magic. When he finished, she took one look in the mirror at the “most distraught version” of the character he created and gave him a nod of approval. “That was it,” Paul noted. “We began filming the following week.”
Paul’s work didn’t stop there, of course. Turns out he had a pivotal part to play in helping the Princess Diaries actress during the scene in which she cuts her hair right before singing “I Dreamed a Dream.”
“During the film, it was my hands that cut the hair from her head,” Paul detailed of the character’s big moment. “Dressed in a double costume matching that worn by ‘The Hair Crone,’ I stood behind Anne wielding a very sharp knife, facing six cameras. I had told Anne before hand not to look around at me as I would be wearing the dress and it may make her laugh.”
“On [director] Tom Hooper‘s command, the six cameras began rolling and the music began to play,” Paul explained. “I had 3 minutes to shave as much of Anne’s hair off as I could. I had warned Anne that I may cut her scalp but she told me that was OK, to do ‘whatever was needed to play the scene.’ I have never been more nervous in my life!”
Given the fact that she had put so much trust into Paul, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they formed quite the connection.
“After it was over, Anne turned to me — we were both crying — and told me we were well and truly bonded,” he concluded. “After the film had finished, I made her a hairpiece from what had been cut off.”
With Paul’s help — along with numerous other professionals — the hair and makeup department earned an Oscar too.
“As a child of the ’60s and ’70s, I was thrilled by Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Oliver, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 101 Dalmatians, James Bond, Jaws, Star Wars…the list is endless!” Paul gushed to Closer about what inspired him to pursue his career. “The cinema visits where so special for me. My mother, being a huge fan of film, took my sister and I regularly. I never imagined I would be able to be part of this world.”
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