Universal’s new production of Les Miserables has got a very high pedigree and has Oscar bait stamped all over it. With production now going ahead, its two lead stars, who were previously in negotiations, Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman, are now locked in. They will play Inspector Javert and Jean Valjean respectively. A release date has also been announced for December 7th 2012, placing the musical adaptation slap bang in the middle of Oscar season.
Directed by Tom Hooper and produced under the Working Title banner, this project has been in development for a long time. The musical’s producer Cameron Mackintosh has said that this is a dream come true after 25 years:
Even though I have dreamt about making the film of Les Miserables for over 25 years, I could never have imagined that we would end up with the dream director Tom Hooper, and the dream cast of Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe as the two great protagonists Jean Valjean and Javert. Not only were they born to play these roles vocally, but they thrillingly inhabit this great score. Producing this film with Eric Fellner, Working Title and Universal Pictures is indeed a dream come true and I can’t wait to hear the people sing at my local cineplex.
The screenplay has been written by Oscar nominated screenwriter/novelist William Nicholson, who wrote Gladiator. Hugh Jackman has proven he has the lungs for a musical like Les Miserables but Russell Crowe kind of hasn’t, well not for a long time anyway. Long before he was an actor, his stage name was Russ Le Roq and he was a singer in New Zealand. That was way back in the 80’s, let’s hope he can carry the almost operatic vocals of Les Miserables on screen.
Presumably this will begin shooting at the start of next year, before Jackman goes off to work on the long delayed The Wolverine and after Crowe finishes work on Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel. We’ll keep you posted as more news surfaces.