Yay, Nay, or Maybe: Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in a Les Miz Film?

by | Jun 16th, 2011 | 10:15AM | Filed under: News, Quizzes, Contests & Polls

With The Wolverine sequel in directorless limbo at the moment (*UPDATE below), star Hugh Jackman might get a chance to flaunt his considerable singing skills in a big-screen adaptation of the smash stage musical Les Misérables.

The Australian Jackman is in talks to star (and sing) as Jean Valjean in a film version of the beloved Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil musical that will be directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech).

The script, based on Boublil’s original libretto and of course Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, is by British playwright William Nicholson (Shadowlands), and the film is being produced by Cameron Macintosh, who produced the English-language version of the original stage musical.

In early 19th century France, Valjean is imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread, but later becomes a successful factory owner and guardian to the young orphan Cosette. Still pursued by the relentless and fanatical police inspector Javert, Valjean and Cosette eventually find themselves in Paris amid a student-led revolutionary uprising.

Les Misérables the musical began as a French concept album in 1980 by Boublil and Schönberg, made its way to the French stage that same year, and then to London’s West End in 1985 and Broadway in 1987. (A 2010 25th Anniversary concert is available on DVD from redbox.)

There have been many film adaptations of Hugo’s novel (including most recently one in 1998 with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush as Valjean and Javert, and a 2000 French miniseries with Gérard Depardieu and John Malkovich), but the musical version has never been presented on the big screen in its entirety.

And while Hugh Jackman may have become a worldwide star for wielding Wolverine’s claws in 2000′s X-Men, his performing background was originally as a singer and dancer on the Australian stage. Prior to X-Men, he’d gained international acclaim for his performance as Curly in the London revival of Oklahoma.

The "Four Valjeans" perform at the 25th anniversary concert

Jackman returned to the stage in 2003, winning a Tony for playing Australian songwriter Peter Allan in The Boy from Oz. And of course he wowed Oscar viewers with his crooning and hoofing while hosting the 2009 Academy Awards ceremony.

If Jackman does sign on to play Valjean, he may end up doing the film before The Wolverine gets back on track, which could put Les Misérables in theaters sometime next year.

(*WOLVERINE UPDATE: Director James Mangold–Walk the Line, Knight and Day–will now direct The Wolverine, taking over for Black Swan‘s Darren Arnofsky, who bowed out in March.)

In the meantime Jackman will be seen this summer in the historical drama Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and this fall in the robot-battlin’ action flick Real Steel.

So what say you all? Is Jackman a good choice to play Valjean in the long-awaited Les Miz movie? And if not, who would you prefer?

Vote in the poll, and then explain your “yay,” “nay,” or “maybe” in the comments below!

Would Hugh Jackman make a good Valjean in a big-screen Les Miz?

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More Les-Miz-related titles from redbox:

 


8 Responses to “Yay, Nay, or Maybe: Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in a Les Miz Film?”

  1. Applause
    Posted on June 16, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Hugh Jackman has the right physicality ( he can age convincingly from the young convict to the authoritative town mayor to the caring father figure to the inspired elderly revolutionary and to the noble dying old man – and who else can lift that cart which imprisoned a man and carry Marius on his back in the Parisian sewers ?), the dramatic acting chops( check out The Fountain and The Prestige), and the singing ability ( a TONY-winning and an Olivier-nominated musical theatre actor) to do full justice to the role!

    This is a very inspired casting possibility! Let’s go for it — Messrs Hooper, Mackintosh, and the producers/studio behind this long-gestating project!

  2. EllenFD
    Posted on June 16, 2011 at 6:41 am

    Yea, definitely. Hugh’s got the musical theater chops and is a seasoned dramatic actor (underrated, I might add). His fans, his colleagues, his producers–everyone who knows anything about him thinks of the world of him. It’s about time the rest of the world got to know what a fabulous multiple talent he is. Powers that be: are you reading this? Hope so.

  3. KathyMC
    Posted on June 16, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I don’t give standing ovations very often, but have stood and cheered many times after witnessing Hugh Jackman’s musical theater performances. He’s an actor who connects with his audience and he can belt out songs with the likes of Brian Stokes Mitchell and Audra McDonald. Barbara Cook has commended him in her Master Classes. He is perfect for Valjean.

  4. Loretta McCullough
    Posted on June 16, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Yay!

  5. Deanna Isenhour
    Posted on June 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I agree with the critics and can’t wait to see it with Hugh Jackman playing the part, he has the whole package and more to give to the character. And for those that have not seen the theater version, would line up to see the movie version = Hugh Jackman

  6. millar74
    Posted on June 16, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I think i’m the only one who doesn’t seem him as Valjean. I see him more as Javert. I’ll watch it either way.

  7. Charles Spriggs
    Posted on June 17, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    who cares ? just another stupid musical remake ? Career MISTAKE for Hugh, let some unknown idiot waste his time.

  8. marvelljones
    Posted on June 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    A dynamic actor like Jackman can play this role. He may not be people’s first choice but I’m sure he will surprise many by how well he does in the role. As long as the rest of the casting is done well and they don’t just try to hinge everything on him. The worst thing they could do is surround him with Glee-like cast members (with the sole exception of Lea Michele) who cannot handle this type of musical.