Hugh Jackman’s next onscreen brawl won’t involve giant robots (see: Real Steel) or deadly ninjas (see: the upcoming Wolverine flick). He’ll instead be matching wits with a relentless officer played by Russell Crowe in director Tom Hooper’s much-anticipated adaptation of Cameron Mackintosh’s Broadway smash, Les Misérables – itself, based on Victor Hugo’s well-known 1862 novel.

It’s been rumored for a while now that another decorated star of the big screen – onetime Oscars ceremony co-host, Anne Hathaway – would be joining Jackman and Crowe in Hooper’s followup to The King’s Speech. Well, now it’s official.

Deadline is confirming that Hathaway has “closed a deal” to appear in Les Misérables, which is slated to become a contender during the 2012 awards season. Between having an important part in Hooper’s musical (which may be shot in 3D – more on that later) and playing Catwoman in next summer’s The Dark Knight Rises, the Oscar-nominated actress is definitely doing all right by herself.

The narrative core of Les Misérables concerns Jean Valjean (Jackman), a man living in early 19th century France – who is imprisoned for two decades after he steals food for his sister’s starving family. When Valjean breaks parole and sets out to begin a new life, he incurs the wrath of the relentless Inspector Javert (Crowe), who becomes obsessed with tracking down and arresting Valjean for his “crimes.”

While there are countless other supporting characters in the story, one of the most important is Fantine (Hathaway), a beautiful woman who is fired from a factory owned by Valjean, after it is revealed that she had a child out of wedlock (since Fantine’s would-be husband abandoned her, as a cruel joke).

Valjean eventually comes to serve as the guardian of Fantine’s daughter, Cosette – who, as a young child, is forced to work as a slave for her would-be guardians, the Thénardiers (Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter are rumored to play that couple). While Cosette eventually matures into a gorgeous young lady under Valjean’s care, the visual of her as a malnourished child has long served as the iconic Les Misérables image (see below).

While hardcore Les Misérables musical fans undoubtedly have mixed feelings about how well fit Jackman, Crowe, and even Hathaway may be for their respective parts, all three of these stars are well-renowned not only for their dramatic acting chops – but also, for their singing abilities and theatrical performance skills. Combine that with a solid filmmaker like Hooper sitting at the helm and multiple Oscar-nominated scripter William Nicholson (Gladiator, Elizabeth: The Golden Age) handling screenwriting duties – and Les Misérables arguably looks really good right now.

On the aforementioned note about Les Misérables potentially being filmed in 3D: here is what Jackman previously said on the matter (via Collider):

“It’s in discussion… It’s always interesting – how do you actually convey thought through song?  We’re used to the convention on stage.  In film, we used to be used to it, and now sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  You need to be fresh and really look at the material.  I think [Hooper’s] basically gonna do it, screen it, look at it, and see if it adds something genuinely or not.  I mean, the strength of Les Mis is in its characters and the emotion, so if it aids that, fantastic.”

We will find out more on that matter soon enough, seeing how Les Misérables is scheduled to begin production this March – in order to make a December 7th, 2012 U.S. theatrical release date.

Source: Deadline