Watch Julianne Moore Expertly Lip-Synch as an Opera Singer in 'Bel Canto' Scene

Julianne Moore stars as an opera singer in Bel Canto, a drama in which Moore's Roxane Coss gets caught in a hostage negotiations

Julianne Moore knows how to stop a crowd in her latest movie.

The actress stars as an opera singer in Bel Canto, a hostage drama in which Moore’s Roxane Coss gets caught in the crossfires of rising tensions between the public and the government in a South American country.

When she travels South to sing at a private birthday party, the evening suddenly turns violent when Guerrilla soldiers take everyone hostage while demanding freedom for their jailed comrades. In the exclusive scene above, Moore appears to bring both sides together for a brief moment as they are mesmerized by her voice.

Bel CantoJulianne MooreCredit: Screen Media Films
Screen Media Films

Director Paul Weitz tells PEOPLE that Moore put in serious time to make it look like she was a real opera singer. (The singing voice actually belongs to opera star Renee Fleming.)

“Julie was at Renee Fleming’s recording sessions staring at her from a few feet away as she recorded the singing,” the director tells PEOPLE. “In the weeks after that she worked with Renee’s accompanist and famed opera coach Gerald Martin Moore to get it right — every breath had to be planned out. He was on set every time she sang. Unfortunately, from Bugs Bunny cartoons we have this idea that when opera singers sing they look like they could swallow a basketball but it’s more about posture and breathing than hollering!”

Bel Canto is in theaters, on demand and iTunes Sept. 21.

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