Outspoken original Eponine in the West End and Broadway mountings of international musical institution LES MISERABLES, Frances Ruffelle, has offered her thoughts on a host of topics in a new interview. Never one to bite her tongue or hold back, Ruffelle offers her frank and candid opinion on the new feature film adaptation of the hit stage property as well as her own memories receiving the 1987 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress In A Musical, moving to New York and carrying on an illicit affair with the then-married co-director of the show, John Caird, before moving back to London when she became pregnant and sufferred debilitating morning sickness.
Ruffelle reveals how difficult it was to move with the show to New York, stating, "But I used to wander around crying a bit. I was quite lonely. I felt so trapped, because I couldn't get back because there was only one day off a week. It was hard. And then, of course, I did get pregnant, and wanted to have a child. And I was in New York, pregnant at age 21."
Further prompted about the tricky situation and carrying on an affair with a married director (John Caird) while virtually still a teenager, she blanches slightly, "But let's not go into that. Although, funnily enough, Annie, his ex-wife, and I are like sisters now. Really good friends. Never imagined that would happen."
She sums the whole experience up rather positively, in any event, recalling: "It wasn't the best timing in the world. I had just won a Tony. Perhaps if I was a bit more career-minded, it would have been a bit silly. But there was no way I was going to not have the baby, so the choice was made for me without making it. The reason I got pregnant, obviously apart from sex - I'd always had no problem with my voice, and I had done eight shows a week for years and years and years. But I got a throat infection, and went to a throat doctor, and was given steroids. It can really mess up your cycle. I don't know why I'm telling you this!"
"I was quite immature in some ways and I'm not sure I could have handled a bigger career at the time. It was a little bit thrown at me at such a young age," she says.
In reference to the hit feature film version and her brief appearance in it as a rouged-up prostitute, Ruffelle implies that it was a bit of a hectic shoot. "They were just trying to work out how to perform musical theater in film. It was almost like guinea pigs. They were really disorganized, actually. I was in a show in London, as were many of the people. Sometimes we were busy. They'd call you at quarter of six in the evening and say, 'We'll pick you up at 10.' I'm like, what? So I missed some. I think I had about four and a half lines before that! What difference does it make?"
She adores Tom Hooper's film, in any event. "I love the movie. I think the storytelling is really good. It's different - some of it goes back to things in the book. I think there should be more Eponine!"
Do I smell a sequel?
For more of the interview, click here.
Pat Cerasaro is a playwright and screenwriter currently in pre-production on his first feature film.|