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(from left)

Amanda Seyfried

PLAYS: Cosette

As Fantine's virtuous daughter, Seyfried avoided most of the misery: no crash diets, no Paris sewer scenes. "I was the most comfortable of anybody in the cast!"

Eddie Redmayne

PLAYS: Marius

The role of the idealistic young rebel wasn't the one the British actor dreamed of. "I wanted to be [street urchin] Gavroche," he admits. "My inner 7-year-old was jealous."

Samantha Barks

PLAYS: Eponine

Off-set singalongs calmed the nerves of the film's newcomer, who played the role onstage in London. "It linked us. Anne and I sang a duet from Rent. Amanda and I sang Adele."

Russell Crowe

PLAYS: Javert

He's intimidating onscreen, but on-set, Hathaway says, "Russell was the glue. He was the first to say, 'Why don't you come to my house? We'll have a couple drinks and we'll sing.'"

Sacha Baron Cohen

PLAYS: Thenardier

After the cast filmed weeks of wrenching scenes, "Sacha and Helena Bonham Carter [who plays the comic innkeeper's wife] arrived, and it was this lightness we all needed," says Redmayne.

Hugh Jackman

PLAYS: Jean Valjean

A leader on-set, Jackman did his best to entertain the cast and crew. "I sang 'Hallelujah' with Russell," he says. "Annie and I did a bit of an impromptu show, waiting for the rain to stop."

Anne Hathaway

PLAYS: Fantine

Like everyone in the cast, Hathaway auditioned for her role. "They asked me to prepare 'I Dreamed a Dream'," she recalls. "This has been a joy. We're all such massive Les Mis geeks."