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Helena Bonham Carter: ‘Les Miserables’ star has family ties to Victor Hugo

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — British actress Helena Bonham Carter apparently shares more with French writer Victor Hugo than just a role in a film based on one of his novels.

A study by genealogy website Ancestry.com reveals that Hugo was a political colleague of a cousin of the 46-year-old actress. Miss Carter stars as Madame Thenardier in the upcoming film musical "Les Miserables," an adaptation of the stage musical based on Hugo's 1862 book.

Ancestry.com says French financier and politician Achille Fould was Miss Carter's first cousin five times removed. He served with Hugo in the post-revolutionary French government in the 1840s. Fould was minister of finance; Hugo was in the constitutional and legislative assembly.

Fould was a staunch supporter of Louis Napoleon III when he seized control of the French Empire in 1851, while Hugo declared him a traitor.

Miss Carter's ancestor moved up in power and authority in the new regime. Hugo left the country and wrote scathing letters and poetry about the treachery of his former colleagues, including Fould. In one publication, Hugo called Fould a "chameleon" with "blood on his hands." It was during this time that Hugo wrote "Les Miserables."

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