Visual Inspirations for Characters

Any research done in relation to the period of Les Misérables, whether for fanfiction or fanart purposes or otherwise.
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Col.Despard
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Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby Col.Despard » Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:59 pm

I was thinking about this as a result of a discussion with Marguerite on visual inspirations for Joly. What visual source materials do we use to imagine the characters?

I've always seen Combeferre as having a touch of Schubert (mine is slimmer and has slightly straighter hair) and was chuffed when going through old posts to see that Marianne had posted a similar comment, years ago:

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There's also a touch of the youthful Ford Maddox Brown in my Combeferre:

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Bahorel owes something to Petrus Borel:

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And a bit of Rossetti:

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My new Joly will be a bit inspired by Kierkgaard, thanks to Marguerite:

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Will post more tonight as I'm running late yet again...
"The principles of freedom, of humanity, and of justice, will finally triumph over falsehood, tyranny and delusion, and every principle inimical to the interests of the human race" - Edward Despard, 1803
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lesmisloony
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby lesmisloony » Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:20 pm

Ooh, I love this topic! I've been pulling together pictures for the same reason for a little under a month now, so this is interesting!
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MmeBahorel
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby MmeBahorel » Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:45 am

A few of mine, and a confession:

I tend to picture Enjolras as the Beast from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Once the Beast turned back into a prince, I mean, but yeah. also, Paul Newman, many many years ago, might not have been bad. I don't just mean because he was hot and had the bluest eyes ever, but because he was capable of a fantastic intensity even if he's better known for the cocky characters he played in films like Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Sting. It's probably a combination of Hud, The Long Hot Summer, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that put him in mind. But I don't really see Paul. I see the Beast. *facepalm*

As for some others:

Original descriptions of Combeferre somehow seemed to match up to Ioan Gruffuudd (tall, dark hair with some curl to it, good looking) except that was wholly wholly wrong. Now, on Monday, possibly because I was totally into the whole Victor Hugo as Romantic writer thing, I was suddenly noticing that Cody Nickell had some definite potential. Cody isn't coming across as intense enough in any of the pictures I have, but his Tybalt was fantastic, and I do think he has potential.

This is Cody as Septimus in Arcadia:
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Courfeyrac, I know I've already posted about Tim Howar. This is the headshot that made me go OMG:
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And Feuilly. Yes, my Feuilly is really inappropriately pretty. It's part of the point. Parnasse went one way; he went the other. Aris Sas. It's not just the pretty, it's also the hair. (no, Feuilly does not sing For Sarah in a really adorable Eurotrashy accent. But that is how I developed a definite crush on Aris. Also, sort of appropriate that Aris was the original Vienna Gavroche, and then later played Enjolras.)

Headshot when Aris was about 16:
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Headshot with the most amount of hair:
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And I have no pictures of Nehal Joshi's bald spot, but yes, my Lesgle's balding pattern is definitely derived from Nehal, who at less than 30 has a slightly receding hairline and a full on bald spot. (and this is such a creepy thing to search for, too, looking at all images of Nehal in the hope that someone managed to catch him from behind and tag that photo so I can find it, so I'm giving up.)

Anyway, Nehal is a doll, but it's only the balding pattern that's carrying over, seeing as Nehal is attractive and Indian and Bossuet isn't exactly either of those things:
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The other trouble I have is really conceiving a Grantaire. It's sort of how in my head, Rochester reverts to Anthony Crivello (and no, Jane is not Marla Schaffel, so it wasn't that the musical entirely screwed me up), but that's probably a better match because one can see those labels and interactions (basically, Rochester may not be conventionally attractive, but it's more in jest that Jane calls him "hideous" before certain events at the end, at any rate). But R has to be very much unattractive. and probably with a beer gut. (absinthe gut?) He's obviously an alcoholic who has a tendency to be a miserable drunk whenever he's feeling rejected by Enjolras. And the only mental picture I have is that he must have dark hair.

I don't even have a full mental image of Bahorel, and I've been writing him! He doesn't have a face, that's really the problem. I can't even decide if he has a beard or not.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Elwen Rhiannon
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby Elwen Rhiannon » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:14 am

I have actually two drawings printed and hung above my desk, officially substituting for Les Misérables characters.

Young Franz Schubert as Combeferre:
andre.jpg
andre.jpg (17.17 KiB) Viewed 5565 times


And self-portrait of Dante Gabriel Rosetti is how I see Jehan Prouvaire:
jehan.jpg
jehan.jpg (19.81 KiB) Viewed 5565 times
"Believe in the future. Combeferre does."

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Frédérique
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby Frédérique » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:49 am

For the longest time I've been seeing Courfeyrac ... like a promotional picture of Albert Finney in "Tom Jones". As in, not at all the way he actually looks in the actual film (too old-looking, undeniably light-haired ... and tanned), but this:

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And my image of Combeferre is somehow derived from Charles Nodier. Which, you know, means a cross between this:

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and this:

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Possibly even (a younger) Pushkin ...

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... which is oddly similar to Schubert, too, acutally, minus the glasses.

And my Jehan is a cross between Novalis -

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- and a mouse and something in a big feathery hat. Er.

I'm trying not to wonder why my M. Gillenormand bears a marked semblance to Geoffrey Rush in "Quills". It just ... happened.

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Cary
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby Cary » Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:45 pm

While I looked up 19th century portraits for hairstyle inspirations (Bahorel's being based on Michel Martin Drolling's, for instance), I already had a pretty clear image of what the characters looked like as I was reading the Brick, so there wasn't much of finding visual inspiration for them with the possible exception of Enjolras, who is basically my conductor, about fifteen years younger and with blond hair. Because it's kind of hard to have to stare at those curls every week and not have them creep into your art somewhere. :lol: Admittedly, my visual image of Courfeyrac has been altered?tainted? by MmeBahorel's story "To Be Sublime (With Interruption"), because once I read the sentence, "His face looked horribly round, he was sure, like the fat Emperor instead of the handsome young general", Courfeyrac automatically gained about twenty pounds and hasn't lost it since. (The pastry jokes haven't helped).

I do have a distinct face associated to Grantaire's now, thanks (dubiously so) to a friend of mine. I mean, I was already pretty sure how he looked in my mind - right down to his bent nose (because for me, Grantaire had to be the least symmetrical of the lot) - but then I showed my friend "Songs of -Dead- Angry Men", and she exclaimed, "AHAHA that guy looks like a young Gerard Depardieu!" :x So now every time the name Grantaire even comes up, this is the imagery I associate it with (except with much darker hair, of course):

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*facepalm*

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Col.Despard
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby Col.Despard » Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:17 pm

Ooooooo...yes! Gerard Depardieu! I originally had Danton in mind, but that didn't work...he sort of just assumed his scruffy character and lank hair because that's how I see him.

MmeBahorel, I jumped a little when I saw that Tim Howar pic...I did a scribble this week of Courfeyrac glancing over his shoulder and smiling, and it looks strangely like that! Have you posted that pic before? I'm wondering if I saw it and it crept into my subconscious somehow. I'll scan and post the pic later.

Elwen, I'm glad to see that youthful, sexy Rossetti made it in as Jehan :) I'll have to pull together some images that reflect how I see him...he's always had these warm brown almond eyes for me, even after I changed my original conception of him.

Enjolras...ah, Enjolras. He came together from about five million sources for me - Classical and Judeo-Christian imagery (as in the Brick) for starters. I've always loved stained glass windows - there's a church in Scarborough that was decorated by the Pre-Raphaelites under the Morris company. WIsh I could find some images from it - I think I have them in books. As a child I used to love sitting in our little church in NY looking at the windows, and there was one in particular - an angel in a pink gown - that used to have the sun almost directly behind it. I'm an atheist, but I still love spending time exploring churches and am terribly fond of stained glass.

Enjolras, to me, is just utterly suffused with light. He has his face turned to it, and it seems to shine through him.

Here's a Morris work:

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And, of course, there's the Archangel Michael imagery:

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The Archangel thing works as well - Enjolras as Angel, but not the pretty-pretty "Touched by an Angel" sort of thing, or those things you stick atop Christmas trees...he's mighty and terrible in his beauty:

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There's some Botticelli there...the curls and the full lips. Also an awful lot of the Pre-Raphaelites...you'll see some Burne-Jones (and, like a pale imitator of Burne-Jones, one of the biggest problems with my Enjolras is that he sometimes seems rather anaemic):

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Of course, Rossetti is there as well. Not least in the hair...there's a lot of his medieval men in the pics, and also the glow of Elizabeth Siddal's hair. I notice that I often do Enjolras glancing down...this, and his self-contained reserve, owe a lot to Rossetti's obsessive sketches of Lizzie:

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You need to see the cumulative effect of dozens of these sketches...there's also a particular tilt to her head, a certain quiet pride, that has contibuted to how I see him.

Then there's Khnopff's "Silence"...another figure that radiates light and almost seems transluscent. The pastels don't seem to reproduce well in the versions I've found online, but here's an idea of it:

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"The principles of freedom, of humanity, and of justice, will finally triumph over falsehood, tyranny and delusion, and every principle inimical to the interests of the human race" - Edward Despard, 1803

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MmeBahorel
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby MmeBahorel » Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:35 am

I hadn't posted that particular pic of Tim, but it's such a perfect Courfeyrac expression, isn't it? It's really no wonder it hit and stuck.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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lesmisloony
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby lesmisloony » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:41 am

Well, I guess I can go ahead and admit that my Marius has a tendency to look like this (but imagine black hair onto all of the following men, okay?):

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Seriously, isn't this a perfect just-noticed-Cosette-for-the-first-time face?

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And sometimes he kinda merges with this guy, whoever he might be:

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But sometimes that guy merges with this mannequin...

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...and Steven Strait...

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...and becomes Montparnasse.



Also, as you all pretty much know, I like to think of Virginie Ledoyen's general energy as Cosette.

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All these people are a little too tan, but you know what I mean.

And, of course, here's my Javert:
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Isn't that a beautiful picture? Clearly not sloppily shopped in any way.

Oh, and this guy did a few bit parts in some random indy films I saw last year and I immediately cast him as my mental Valjean:

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MusicalTwin
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby MusicalTwin » Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:15 pm

What a cool topic! 8) I adore your Javert, Loony! :wink: :lol: As soon as I find people or pictures who match the Mizzie characters in my imagination I'll post them here. :mrgreen:
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Lara
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby Lara » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:46 am

Looking at all of the angel pictures reminds me of something. At my school there is a bulletin board of Christmas-y things outside one of the Spanish rooms. They have an angel and he basically looks what Enjolras would look like if Disney got their hands on Les Mis. I'll try to get a picture when I get some of my paintings on Friday.

I need to start saving pictures I find that remind me of characters...

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Aurelia Combeferre
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:00 pm

Very well-imagined! :D :D
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Col.Despard
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby Col.Despard » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:09 pm

Loony, That Guy is hot. Okay, there might be excessive pouting going on, even for a model, but...um...HOT. I am partial to chiselled features, full lips and dark hair. Although, for me, about 80% of the appeal is the clothes he has on!

And yes - Frodius works! But now I'm seeing Marius with really big feet.
"The principles of freedom, of humanity, and of justice, will finally triumph over falsehood, tyranny and delusion, and every principle inimical to the interests of the human race" - Edward Despard, 1803

http://coloneldespard.deviantart.com/

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Marianne
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby Marianne » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:23 am

This is Tequila, AKA Courfeyrac Cat. She belongs to my French host family.

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Her favorite attack moves include merciless snuggling, wet-nose kitty kisses, wet-nose kitty kisses on the lips, groping boobs, demanding affection, engaging her claws as a sign of affection, attempting to climb up your leg, and attacking anything that resembles a cat toy simply for the fun of it.

The grainy webcam picture doesn't show it, but she is exceedingly well-groomed and graceful and more kittenish than any eight-year-old cat has a right to be.

And yes, she has become part of my inspiration for Courfeyrac. Especially her complete failure to understand that just because she kneads with her claws as a sign of affection doesn't mean I interpret it as such, which just makes me feel like Marius bristling at Courfeyrac's good-natured banter. It's so hard to get angry with her.
[Dieu] entend ta voix, ô fille des hommes! aussi bien que celle des constellations; car rien n'est petit pour celui devant lequel rien n'est grand.
- George Sand, Les sept cordes de la lyre

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MmeBahorel
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Re: Visual Inspirations for Characters

Postby MmeBahorel » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:43 am

Well, she *is* a French cat, after all.

(aww, kitty!!!!)
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard


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