The good bishop's act of kindness and mercy propels petty criminal Valjean (to be played by Hugh Jackman) into a life in service of humanity, setting the events of the story in motion. "I have bought your soul for God," sings the cleric.
Irish-born Wilkinson was a 1987 Best Actor Tony Award nominee for playing Valjean. It was his only Broadway appearance. He played the title role in the Tornto company of The Phantom of the Opera; that performance was captured on a cast recording.
The show's original producer (and one of the film producers) Cameron Mackintosh told Daily Mail columnist Baz Bamigboye that Frances Ruffelle, the orginal Eponine in London and on Broadway, will have a cameo in the film, playing a prostitute in the "Lovely Ladies" sequence. She won a 1987 Featured Actress Tony Award for playing the street urchin in love (in vain) with Marius.
The Daily Mail reported that rehearsals begin Jan. 30 in London, although some individual principal-cast rehearsals have already commenced.
The complete cast has not been announced, but casting for a number of principal roles has been announced. As previously reported, the cast includes Russell Crowe (Inspector Javert), Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette) and Aaron Tveit (Enjolras). Negotiations for other roles continue.
Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech") is directing the film, which is based on the classic novel and stage musical. William Nicholson, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg wrote the screenplay.
The picture, to be released in late 2012, is A Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh production produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh.