Anne Hathaway's performance in 'Les Miserables' is ''breathtaking''.

The brunette beauty stunned the crew and her castmates on the forthcoming musical movie with her ''raw and intense'' portrayal prostitute Fantine and her performances of songs in the film are said to be ''extraordinary''.

Director Tom Hooper said: ''When she sings 'I Dreamed a Dream' - and you just see a tiny clip in the trailer - it is quite extraordinary. This performance, it is quite breathtaking.

''The day we shot it on set, the crew were kind of absolutely staggered by it. She went to this incredibly raw and intense place to play this role.

''She offered to cut her hair because that's what happens to the character, and she was truly committed to going on this Journey and did the most immaculate amount of research.

''I don't think I've worked with a better-prepared actor in terms of the amount of the months and months of work that she put in to build up to this moment.''

Competition for roles in the movie - which also stars Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe - was tough and Anne had to fight off a number of famous actresses to land the part of Fantine.

Tom added to MTV News: ''The list of actresses who auditioned for Fantine, it was outrageous. It was like half a dozen of the biggest female movie stars on the planet all wanted to play the role.

''The competition was insane, and they were all willing to go through the auditioning process.

''It was rather wonderful and some poetic Justice that Anne Hathaway ends up getting the role given that her mother was the understudy for Fantine on the American tour when she was growing up.''