Russell Crowe Locked For ‘Les Miserables’; Release Date Set

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:47 pm,

Now that the production start date for The Wolverine has officially been pushed back until Spring 2012, Hugh Jackman’s next starring role will be that of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables – an adaptation of producer Cameron Mackintosh’s award-winning Broadway musical take on Victor Hugo’s classic 1862 novel.

Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway had recently been rumored as prospective costars for Les Miserables, which will be brought to life under the direction of newly-crowned Oscar winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech). The former of those two Hollywood celebrities is now officially onboard for the film.

Deadline has learned that Crowe is set to portray Inspector Javert in Les Miserables – one of two upcoming tentpole productions that will feature the Academy Award-winning actor in some form, alongside director Zack Snyder’s Superman franchise reboot, Man of Steel.

Crowe’s casting isn’t the only new move that’s clearly meant to position Les Miserables as a potential awards contender (which, admittedly, it already was); Universal has officially settled on a December 7th, 2012 release date for the picture, giving it a head-start over other big winter releases like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, World War Z, and Django Unchained.

Les Miserables involves multiple subplots and numerous characters, but the heart of the story – which is set against the backdrop of revolution-thwart France in the early 19th century – concerns Javert’s lifelong quest to track down and arrest Valjean, after the ex-convict (who was imprisoned for around two decades after stealing bread to feed his starving sister’s family) breaks parole, in an attempt to leave his woebegone history behind and start a new life.

Hugh Jackman may star in Les Miserables Russell Crowe Locked For Les Miserables; Release Date Set

Most of the concerns expressed by devoted fans of the Les Miserables musical so far have to do with whether or not Jackman and Crowe are really good fits for their respective parts in the movie adaptation. Both of these fellows are quite musically talented – Jackman is a Tony award-winning singer and Crowe actually began his career as a musician, performing as a rock ‘n roll revivalist and starring in stage productions of musicals like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Whether or not they are proper matches for the vocal chops that the roles of Valjean and Javert call for is what (by and large) seems to be troubling longtime fans of the Broadway show.

Jackman possesses the sort of charisma and screen presence to make Valjean fittingly sympathetic, while Crowe is arguably someone who could make for a great incarnation of the obsessive and rigidly authoritative Javert. It’s one of those situations where you have to decide whether you prefer thespians who are actors first, singers second – or vice versa. Cinematic musicals that feature cast members who are more experienced at screen acting (see: Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd or Mamma Mia! for recent examples) generally seem to work better as films than those that recruit actors with more on-stage experience – like, say, Rent.

You do want to be sure your cast can at least sing well enough to impress casual moviegoers and critics; otherwise, you end up being berated by seemingly everyone (see: Joel Schumacher’s Phantom of the Opera). Les Miserables should easily manage to avoid a similar fate, all things considered.

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To reiterate: Les Miserables is now slated for theatrical release in the U.S. on December 7th, 2012.

Source: Deadline

TAGS: les miserables

10 Comments

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  1. This is losing its classic appeal every time another “star” comes on board. Jackman is great, but Hathaway and Crowe are turning this into another Hollywood wreck of a fine classic musical. I only hope that Hooper knows what he is doing as it looks to be going downhill everytime they name a new actor. I was thrilled when this first began, with Jackman, as it is a perfect vehicle for him. Now I am really really concerned that it is going to be second rate or worse.

    • Have you ever heard Crowe sing?

  2. Russell Crowe is perfect casting for this.
    Jackson looks good, I’m not sure about Hathaway.
    Speaking of Phantom I think Emmy Rossum would be great.

    Russell went after this aggressively,
    asking to audition twice, and apparently
    succeeding he could deliver the goods on this.

    Les Mis may have been my greatest theater
    going experience and I hope they get it right.

  3. I am very excited about this. I love the novel, really love the musical, and enjoy the talents and roles of both Jackman and Crowe. Thus, this production is definitely looking up for me…

  4. This could be alot of fun, although for some reason I picture Jackman in the role of Javert and Crowe in the role of Jean Val Jean.

    • Funny, that could work too. Maybe even better.
      By the way, Greg you look like Russell in your avatar.

      That’s a good thing.

  5. For anyone unfamiliar with Russell’s singing, here is my favorite song of his:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3nYEApabMg

    And this is a look at Russell performing live:

  6. GJP, yes, I’ve heard Crowe sing several times. He commands a stage… his singing is a bit uneven, but I think he’ll do fine. Remember, this is to be a film, not a stage production. There can be multiple takes and sound production techniques as well as ADR are routinely used to enhance vocals in films all the time.

    He’s a terrific actor who began his performing career singing for a living. I understand he’s wanted to do a musical for some time. I can’t wait.

  7. Of course Hugh Jackman can sing. Before Hollywood came calling, his training and performance history was all musical theatre in Australia. Then Britain’s National Theatre director at the time, Sir Trevor Nunn, cast him in the lead as Curly in the ground-breaking production of Oklahoma choreographed by Susan Stroman. The award-wining production transferred to Broadway after playing the West End too but sadly, because of American Equity issue, Jackman did not reprise his performance in New York

  8. But the National’s production was filmed for DVD release (available in the UK) and you can hear Hugh Jackman sing on the London Cast Album. And can he sing!

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