Hugh Jackman Is Russell Crowe's Quarry in Les Miserables Film
By Kenneth Jones
Tony Award winner Hugh Jackman and Academy Award winner Russell Crowe are to be moral Jean Valjean and his twisted pursuer Inspector Javert, respectively, in the film adaptation of the international hit musical Les Miserables.
The stage musical's producer, Cameron Mackintosh, who is also the film's producing partner, confirmed the news in a Sept. 8 statement: "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."
All other reported casting for the picture, to be released in December 2012, is speculative as of Sept. 9.
Anne Hathaway (as Fantine) and Helena Bonham Carter (as Madame Thenardier) had been mentioned in reports about casting for the Universal and Working Title movie.
In the London, Broadway and international hit musical, Javert is the policeman who doggedly pursues Valjean, a petty thief who changes his fortunes, over several decades in socially turbulent times in early 1800s France.
Director Hooper won the Academy Award for his direction of the Oscar-winning Best Picture "The King's Speech."
The film is drawn from the Claude-Michel Schonberg-Alain Boublil musical, which has English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. "I Dreamed a Dream," "A Heart Full of Love," "Do You Hear the People Sing?," "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," "Bring Him Home," "Stars" and "Master of the House" are among some its famous musical numbers.
Talking by phone to radio station 98.1 CHFI on June 27, in advance of the July 5 start of a concert engagement at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre, Jackman (The Boy From Oz) said, "I do have a desire to do a movie musical. Looks like that's coming true because I'm gonna do Les Miserables, the movie version of it, next year. I'm excited. That's something I need to bring my A-game for."
Jackman said the film of Les Miz will start filming next year. The decades-spanning drama is drawn from the novel by Victor Hugo.
The stage musical is by Alain Boublil (book), Claude-Michel Schönberg (book and music) and Herbert Kretzmer (lyrics). William Nicholson has been mentioned as screenwriter.
Jackman also said that his career high so far was starring as Peter Allen in Broadway's The Boy From Oz, for which he won the Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical. Despite the bad reviews for the show, he said it was an extraordinary experience for him. He added that he is most happy when he is on a stage in front of an audience.
Hooper's film credit before the Oscar-winning "The King's Speech" was "The Damned United," about an English football coach. He was also director of the acclaimed miniseries "John Adams."
Jackman, who was seen on screen in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," is also known for his film roles in the "X-Men" trilogy, "Someone Like You," "Swordfish," "Kate and Leopold," "Van Helsing" and the recent "The Fountain" and "Happy Feet" (in voice). His stage credits also include Trevor Nunn's staging of Oklahoma! at Britian's National Theatre and award-winning work in productions of Sunset Boulevard and Beauty and the Beast in his homeland, Australia.
Jackman's 90-minute Toronto concert July 5-17 at the Princess of Wales Theatre was a mix of songs, stories and video. There are reports that he might perform the solo concert on Broadway this fall.
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