Would Hugh Jackman Make a Better Cop or Thief for ‘Les Miserables’?

By  · Published on June 16th, 2011

Any theater fan knows that making Les Miserable as a film will be a considerable undertaking (one that hopefully keeps the rotating stage). It’s an epic piece of writing made even larger by the music created for the stage version by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil (the English version libretto was done by Herbert Kretzmer). With a Best Picture under his belt, Tom Hooper wants to tackle it, and so does Universal, but they’ll both need some giants to fill the main roles, and it looks like they’ve gotten their first.

Variety is reporting that Hugh Jackman, famous for being well-versed as an actor, a singer, and a not-too-shabby dancer, is currently in talks to star. It’s unclear whether he’ll be playing the fugitive Jean Valjean (who was imprisoned for stealing bread to feed his sister’s family) or Javert (the police inspector determined to hunt him down), but speculation seems to be that he’ll be running from the law instead of representing it. That speculation is based on Jackman’s natural tenor singing range, but it wouldn’t be the first time a production forced an actor to do something out of their safe zone. The real question is which part he’d be best for.

That, again, is Valjean. Although he could honestly nail down either part firmly. Now to find a suitable counterpart. How about Liam Neeson (who portrayed Valjean in the 1998 film adaptation), Karl Urban (can he sing?), or Jean Dujardin (making a proper launch into US filmmaking)? On that front, Deadline Nantes is reporting that Paul Bettany has read and sung for Hooper in hopes of getting the part. That could be an interesting pairing and a much-needed return to more serious acting work for Bettany.

No word yet on whether Valjean will escape from jail by stabbing guards and cutting through walls with the giant knives in his knuckles.

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