Without Susan Boyle, the Les Miserables movie might never have happened, according to theater producer Cameron Mackintosh. Mackintosh, who spearheaded the global Les Miz phenomenon (and is one of the film’s producers), says Boyle’s enormous worldwide success after wowing Britain’s Got Talent with her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” in 2009 had a lot to do with the movie getting made.
“The [stage] show was doing pretty well at the time, but it suddenly had a real kick into it,” says Mackintosh. “I could see a whole pile of new people who wouldn’t necessarily have thought to come and see the show went, ‘Oh, that’s where that song comes. I think I’ll go and see it.’ And that was of course closely followed by the 25th anniversary concert and the new 25th anniversary production I did, all of which led to Hollywood being interested in making a movie of it. [Boyle] absolutely was the trigger to a series of things that happened that made this the right moment to do Les Miserables in the cinema. I certainly think Susan Boyle made that song far more famous than anybody else had managed to do. I’ve always said we owe her a great debt. It was one of those great miracles that nobody could ever plan.”
For much more on the history of “I Dreamed a Dream” and Anne Hathaway’s Oscar-nominated performance in Les Miz, check out this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Jan. 18.