‘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.

“When you start to do a movie about this kind of community and misery, people are not really ready to give you money. The budget was supposed to be 3 million Euro ($333,1350), but we could only raise 1 million Euro ($1,110,255) to do it.”

Watch the full video above.

Steve Pond

Steve Pond

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

Oops! This is for WrapPRO members only, please sign up or login to view. Oops! This is for WrapPRO members only, please choose a plan to continue.

Join WrapPRO for Exclusive Content, Full Video Access, Premium Events, and More!
For Only $1/Day Members Access:
In-Depth Coverage
  • Up to 10 exclusive members-only stories a week
  • Awards Editor Steve Pond’s weekly take on awards season
  • TV Editor Tony Maglio’s in-depth TV ratings column
  • Entertainment industry analysis and deep-dive features
  • Daily WrapPRO newsletter covering the latest industry news
Exclusive Video
  • Access to full length Members-Only Video archive
  • Video of notable sessions from TheWrap Events (TheGrill, Power Women Summit)
Vip Access
  • Priority seating for TheWrap's Screening Series with stars and filmmakers (up to 30 min prior to film start time)
  • Access to "chill spots" at select industry events Sundance, TIFF, Newfronts and more
  • Access to exclusive invite-only events
  • DataBank showcasing key stats and streaming video trends in the OTT market
  • In-depth entertainment industry research and whitepapers