Filming is to begin the week of March 19, according to Universal, although star Hugh Jackman (to play the epic's moral center Jean Valjean) tweeted this on his Twitter account on March 8: "Day one of the Les Mis shoot. Sooo excited!"
As previously reported, the principal cast of the film directed by Academy Award winner Tim Hooper ("The King's Speech," "John Adams") includes Russell Crowe as Javert; Anne Hathaway as Fantine; Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thenardier; Amanda Seyfried as Cosette; Eddie Redmayne as Marius; Samantha Barks as Eponine; Aaron Tveit as Enjolras; and George Blagden as student Grantaire.
Original stage Valjean, Colm Wilkinson, plays the pivotal role of the Bishop of Digne in the picture. Tony Award winner Frances Ruffelle, the original Eponine in London and on Broadway, will also make an appearance in the film.
Les Misérables producer Cameron Mackintosh previously confirmed that the film version of the epic Victor Hugo-inspired musical, with songs by Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer, will feature a new song for hero Jean Valjean. Written by the stage hit's original songwriting team, the new number is called "Suddenly," and looks at Valjean's relationship with his surrogate daughter Cosette following her rescue from the Thenardiers.
On March 16, Universal confirmed the participation of the following additional performers: Gina Beck (a Cosette in London, Christine in Phantom), Bertie Carvel (Trunchbull in London's Matilda), Killian Donnelly (Raoul in London's Phantom of the Opera), Daniel Evans (U.K. and Broadway's Sunday in the Park With George, artistic director of The Sheffiled Crucible), Fra Fee (London's Les Miz), Hadley Fraser (Javert in London, Raoul in the Phantom anniversary concert at Albert Hall), Katie Hall (Cosette in the O2 Les Miz concert), Linzi Hateley (the original Carrie and a former Eponine), Michael Jibson (an Olivier nominee for the musical Our House), Chris Key (London's Les Miz), Alexia Khadime (Eponine in London's Les Miz), Adrian Scarborough (London's Betty Blue Eyes), Caroline Sheen (Mary Poppins and Les Miz in London), Katy Secombe (Madame T in London's Les Miz), Jos Slovick (West End Spring Awakening), Hannah Waddingham (London's The Wizard of Oz), Gemma Wardle (a former Eponine in London), among others.
The vocals for the film will be sung live rather than dubbed. Most of the 1986 stage musical is sung-through, so dubbing would be a chore, Mackintosh said. Like the refreshed 25th anniversary U.K. production and current U.S. national tour of Les Miz, the film will be sung with an emphasis on of-the-moment naturalistic acting.
Among the international-hit show's famous musical numbers are "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."
The original London production continues in the West End. An American touring production of the revised 25th anniversary version of the show is now traveling the country. A separate Canadian production will be spawned in Toronto in 2012.
The Les Miz film is from Universal, Cameron Mackintosh and Working Title.