‘Les Miserables’ Director Ladj Ly on How Little Paris Has Changed Since Victor Hugo’s Time | Video

“A century later people are still miserable there,” Ly says of the Paris suburb where Hugo’s 1862 novel and his new film are both set

“Les Miserables” has made a lot of money for a lot of people since Victor Hugo wrote it in the French suburb of Montfermeil in 1862: book publishers, filmmakers and Broadway producers for starters. But when first-time feature director Ladj Ly decided to borrow Hugo’s title and setting for a modern-day look at the struggles between the underclass and law enforcement in today’s Montfermeil, he found that the Hugo connection didn’t help him at all.

“One of the main challenges was to finance the movie,” Ly told TheWrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven through a translator at the Wrap Screening Series presentation of “Les Miserables” on at the Landmark in West Los Angeles.

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Steve Pond

Steve Pond

Awards Editor • steve@thewrap.com • Twitter: @stevepond