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Hugh Jackman's air guitar

Star of Les Mis demonstrates the director's rock opera version.

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The red carpet ran the length of Pitt Street Mall. Crazed Christmas shoppers paused and strained their necks to see what the fuss was about. It was the Australian premiere of Les Miserables. Shopping was soon forgotten as thousands of fans lined the walkway. There were screams when Hugh Jackman stepped on to the red carpet looking dapper in his tuxedo. There was a roar when Russell Crowe, without his estranged wife Danielle Spencer, paused to wave. Both stars spent nearly an hour signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans.

Halfway along they stepped on to a platform and were interviewed by Kerri-Anne Kennerly. Crowe said being in the mall brought back memories.

"In 1986-87 I used to busk in Pitt Street Mall and Kings Cross. I'd make $50 to cover rent then enough for fried rice and a packet of cigarettes. Those were the days," he said.

Local products ... Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman at the Sydney premiere of Les Miserables.

Local products ... Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman at the Sydney premiere of Les Miserables. Photo: James Brickwood

Jackman admitted to a bad case of cold feet before filming Les Mis started. "The day before we started shooting I saw Russell and I said, 'I think I've bitten off more than I can chew.' And he put his hand on my shoulder and just said 'You'll be right mate. We'll be right."'

The film's director, Tom Hooper and producer, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, also attended. The event was a black tie affair and guests included Jackie Weaver, Kate Ritchie, Michael Caton and Jessica Mauboy.

Members of the original cast of the Australian stage production also attended including Marina Prior, Debra Byrne and Martin Crewes. The red carpet snaked its way to the State Theatre where guests sipped champagne before the screening of the film.