What is it about ?
The Greatest Showman celebrates the birth of show business and the wonder one feels when dreams come true. Inspired by PT Barnum’s ambition and imagination, this is the story of a visionary who started from nothing who created a show that has become a global phenomenon.
Keala Settle, the singer from elsewhere
An incandescent gaze, a powerful voice, an imposing presence… the Hawaiian singer of Maori origin Keala Settle makes everyone agree in The Greatest Showman where she plays the bearded woman, one of the “curiosities” exhibited at the circus . A role she accepted, in the hope “to encourage modern spectators to show tolerance“. It must be said that Keala Settle had no experience in the cinema, she who is a regular on Broadway boards where she has been playing for years (in Hairspray and Les Misérables in particular). Director Michael Gracey has made the bet of give her a solo, on “This is me”: a hymn to tolerance and self-acceptance, recently awarded at the Golden Globes and nominated at the Oscars, a title which allows Keala Settle to express her sensitivity and inject a little of his personal history into it.
Zendaya, the rising star
Straight out of the Disney stable where she cut her teeth – especially in the teen series Shake it up! – Zendaya now chooses more serious roles, which contrasts with her previous participations (evidenced by the recent Euphoria). Along with her spy comedy series Agent KC, she appeared in 2017 in Spider-Man: Homecoming and in the sequel Far From Home in 2019. She signed with The Greatest Showman her first musical where she played a talented trapeze artist. whose skin color places her on the margins of society. With a solid background in singing and dancing, Zendaya made a point of doing all of her stunts in The Greatest Showman. A feat that can be seen in particular during her duet with Zac Efron on “Rewrite The Stars” where she evolves both on land and in the air, notably using a hoop.
Behind Rebecca Ferguson …
Although Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation) can sing, the Swedish actress preferred to use a voice understudy to interpret the title “Never Enough” that we hear in the film. The production turned to Loren Allred, a young American artist who tried her luck on the music show The Voice a few years ago. The deep and warm tone of her voice as well as her technique suited Jenny Lind’s character, “the Swedish nightingale” and superstar singer in the 19th century. Rebecca Ferguson still had to learn to sing in playback for this performance where everything relies on her interpretation. A first for her, as she explains: “I had never taken part in such a complex business, coordinating plans, timing and above all emotions with music requires a lot of work.. “
Michelle Williams is also amazing in this film. If we know her acting talents very well, we did not know she was a singer. In The Greatest Showman, she’s not only PT Barnum’s wife, she’s also his partner, a strong woman who doesn’t like to be walked on… And although she doesn’t do all the dance scenes in the film , Michelle Williams proves to us that she is a complete artist.