As is the case with most tentpole production nowadays, numerous photos have leaked from the set of Tom Hoooper's Les Misérables throughout the course of principal photography on the Broadway musical adaptation.
Today, however, we can offer a studio-sanctioned early look at the star-studded period drama. That includes a more polished look at Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert, and Anne Hathaway as Fantine - along with the first screenshots of Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne (My Week with Marilyn) and original Les Miz stage musical performer, Samantha Barks.
Les Misérables originated as a socially-conscious novel written by Victor Hugo, before it was adapted into a massively-popular, award-winning stage musical (over a century later). The film adaptation of the latter stars Jackman as Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who seeks out a new life - having spent 19 years in prison for the crime of stealing food (as to feed his sister's family). However, when Valjean breaks parole, he incurs the wrath of Javert (Crowe), a by-the-rules police officer who becomes utterly obsessed with tracking Valjean down.
Other important players in the story (which takes place in 19th-century France) include Fantine (Hathaway), a single mother who takes desperate measures to support her daughter, Cosette - played by Isabelle Allen as a child, Seyfried as an adult. Also pivotal to the central Les Miz narrative is the revolution-minded Marius (Redmayne) and Éponine (Barks) - a character who (among other things) tragically carries a torch for Marius, despite his romantic interest in Cosette.
[SIDENOTE: As an Easter Egg for hardcore Les Miz fans - Colm Wilkinson, the man who originated the role of Valjean on stage, is playing the Bishop of Digne in the film adaptation.]
Enough with the melodrama plot talk - check out the first official images from Les Misérables (click on any thumbnail for the full version):
Based on the sets, costumes, and hair/makeup featured in these early photos, Les Misérables appears to offer a very convincing portrayal of poverty-stricken citizens and the rundown quarters of France during the 1800s. Chalk that largely up to the efforts of two-time Oscar-nominated production designer Eve Stewart, who looks to deliver a backdrop for Les Miz that's as filthy and dilapidated - as her version of 1939 Britain in Hooper's The King Speech was refined and lovely to look at.
The cast is pretty stellar too, especially when you consider that most of the film's stars are both credible screen thespians and have proven musical chops to boot. Of course, they have to be - given that the movie's musical numbers are being recorded on set, rather than during post-production (or with Glee-level amounts of auto-tuning). So, clearly, Hooper and his team are confident about their cast's collective singing abilities.
Les Misérables opens in theaters around the U.S. on December 14th, 2012.