In The Greatest Showman, director Michael Gracey melds the 19th century world of P.T. Barnum at the dawn of the founding of the Barnum Circus and the music and dance of 2017—costumes, sets, conventions of the old world with music, dance, and feel of today.
As Barnum works to legitimize himself in the world of culture and entertainment, he decides to produce a national U.S. tour for the opera singer Jenny Lind as a high-brow counterpoint to his low-brow circus act. Actor Rebecca Ferguson takes on the role of Lind, the true-to-history Swedish nightingale. But her song “Never Enough,” written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, is far from a soprano’s aria. The belted pop song reveals Lind’s inner pain and ambition as a woman striving to be recognized.
During the press junket for The Greatest Showman, Ferguson spoke to Playbill about imbueing Lind with her personal sensibility. Ferguson recalls working with Pasek and Paul, particularly “movement-wise because she’s supposed to stand still but somehow we needed to create crescendos and we needed to create emotions,” to create this character. What’s more, Ferguson worked closely with Loren Allred, who provides the singing voice for Lind in the film.
“I would listen to her intonations and the ways that she would breathe and use her voice, so that when I sang—because I sang every takewith the playback—it would be a collaboration of her voice and my acting.”
Watch the full interview above.
The Greatest Showman hits cinemas nationwide December 20, starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Michelle Wiliams, Keala Settle, and Rebecca Ferguson.