Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen 'failed' first 'Les Miserables' audition at age 20

Dec. 25, 2012 at 9:50 AM ET

Singing is a perfect way to ring in Christmas Day, but who knew it would be coming from TODAY's Matt Lauer and "Les Miserables" star Sacha Baron Cohen?

Baron Cohen spoke with Lauer on Tuesday, but not before the actor began crooning, "I am contractually obligated to do this whole interview in song." Baron Cohen plays corrupt innkeeper Monsieur Thenardier in the film, and like all of the actors, sings all of his lines in the movie.

He noted (after returning to his usual spoken voice) that "Les Miserables" is "a staple in London," and when he was 20, he gave a stab at being in the chorus. "I passed the singing bit," he noted, but fell down when it came to the dancing part. Not that he didn't give it a good try: "There's like 200 people standing outside in the rain (at the audition), and then it came to the dancing bit ... and you had to learn a routine and it was clear I had absolutely no idea how to do it," said Baron Cohen. "So when it came time for action ... I decided to freestyle." 

He did not get the job. "I failed," he added.

Not so in "Les Miserables," where there's a lot of singing (and minimal dancing). By the end of the interview, Baron Cohen was back to singing -- and so was Lauer. Check out the video for the rest!

"Les Miserables" opened in theaters on Dec. 25.

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