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.
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.
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!
More Les-Miz-related titles from redbox:
- Les Misérables: The 25th Anniverary Concert
- Hugh Jackman in X-Men Origins: Wolverine
- Director Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech (on DVD and Blu-ray)