If you spent yesterday ruminating on whether or not Hollywood needed yet another Anna Karenina, you can now use those brain muscles to ponder the existence of yet another big-scale adaptation of a classic work – now with 100% more Russell Crowe! We’ve known for awhile that Hugh Jackman would star in Tom Hooper‘s take on Les Miserables, but it’s been unclear just who he would play and, conversely, who would play opposite him. Dream no more dreams, mon amies, all of our questions have now been answered.
Jackman will star as prisoner 24601 himself, criminal Jean Valjean (but a dashing criminal who stole bread to save his family, a thief with a heart of gold!), with Crowe set as his long-time nemesis, Police Inspector Javert (who is essentially the Officer Krupke of the entire production). Jackman and Crowe round out the essential male roles of the film, with casting still up in the air for the female leads Fantine and Cosette, along with the entire Thénardier family.
This new Les Miz is viewed as a “live-action adaptation” of the famous stage musical and an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel. You know what that means! Singing! It’s no secret that Jackman loves to belt out tunes, and the actor is pretty skilled when it comes to doing the big showy stuff (hell, he’s even done it on Broadway in The Boy from Oz). But Crowe is no singing slouch either, as he likes to put his gravelly voice to more rock tunes, information my extensive YouTube investigation turned up, as I had no idea that Crowe sang a damn thing. The Internet! Wow! This project will, however, be the duo’s first crack at a feature film musical.
William Nicholson (Gladiator, Nell, First Knight) penned the script for this latest take on Les Miz. Hugo’s work has been remade almost countless times, from film and television incarnations, to radio and plays and even games. The Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil-written stage musical is the best-known and loved take on the material, with an English language version of the musical launched by producer Cameron Mackintosh seeing its own success (and also serving as the basis for this new take). The novel was last turned into a (non-musical) feature film way back in 1998, in a Billie August film starring Liam Neeson, Claire Danes, and Geoffrey Rush.
The film will open on December 7, 2012, so just roll out the Oscars now. [Deadline Montparnasse]