Les Miserables, one of the most famous musicals in history, is coming to the big screen and director Tom Hooper wants Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman for the title role of Jean Valjean.
If you’ve not seen Les Miserables at the theatre, although it’s estimated to have been seen by hundreds of thousands, then the plot will most definitely strike you as cinema-worthy. It was originally a perennially popular Nineteenth-century novel, was turned into a movie in the late nineties starring Liam Neeson, Uma Thurman and Geoffrey Rush, and now the theatrical production is regularly advertised around central London and on the tube.
Jean Valjean is a wanted man in France, attempting to escape his dark past. Pursued relentlessly by Javert, a policeman hell-bent on capturing prisoner 24601, he soon falls in with a bunch of French revolutionaries aiming to overthrow the government. It is dramatic, and chock-full of memorable musical numbers and dark, powerful scenes in which the struggle of the working class French is illustrated in stark, unrelenting detail.
Speaking as someone who’s seen the musical, Jackman is a perfect fit, and if he can manage the bellowing voice of the various Jean Valjeans that have performed the role in the musical since its 1985 debut at the Barbican.
Hooper is also a dab hand at period drama, given that his most recent directorial effort was The King’s Speech. So, we can safely assume the film will not become similar to the ongoing attempt to bring Akira to Western audiences (clue: buy the anime on DVD and save yourself the grief). More on this as it comes.