Hugh Jackman in Talks to Star in Tom Hooper's New 'Les Miserables'
We all know that actor Hugh Jackman has a glorious singing voice and roots in musical theater, now he's bringing it all full circle. Variety, with another big casting scoop, is reporting that Jackman is now in talks for a lead role in Oscar winning (for The King's Speech) director Tom Hooper's latest adaptation of the musical Les Miserables, based on Victor Hugo's novel. The project was first announced back in March, but this is the first casting we've heard for it since then. Unfortunately, Variety doesn't know if Jackman will be playing Jean Valjean, the protagonist on the run in the story, or Javert, the police inspector after him.
Universal is developing, with the original Les Mis theater mastermind Cameron Mackintosh producing with Working Title. The musical was adapted for the screen once before in 1998, but that version, starring Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush and Uma Thurman, barely made $14 million at the box office. Obviously this project has a ways to go with casting the two other leads in it, but starting with Hugh Jackman is a huge first-step, especially considering he's got a gap to fill with The Wolverine still on hold. I'm not really sure about this new Les Mis movie yet, but if this is the direction Hooper is taking it, I'm definitely intrigued. Thoughts?
Update: There's been an update to the news courtesy of Deadline, who says that Jackman is definitely in the running for the protagonist lead role of Jean Valjean - which would be fantastic to see. They also say that Paul Bettany is a "candidate" and has read/sang for the role for Javert, the antagonist in the story. Casting isn't finalized yet for either, but if these are the two they get, this film might just turn out quite awesome. I am truthfully much more excited for this than Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby!