("Oh What a Circus" "Music of the Night" "Bring Him Home" "House of the Rising Sun" "This is the Moment" "MLK' "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" "My Way" "Danny Boy" "Empty Chairs, Empty Tables" "Gethsemane" "Mack the Knife" "You'll Never Walk
Wilkinson has a small role in the new film and plays opposite Jackman in one scene, but the Australian star felt strange playing the part that his co-star is famous for.
He tells EW.com, "It felt odd because Colm was one of the most famous people to ever play the role. I saw him a year before when I did the film, when I was doing my one-man stage show, and it was great to meet him and work with him. There was this strange feeling of him saying, 'Hey man, it's all yours. It's all good.'
"I did ask him a couple questions, but I remember him saying at one point, 'It doesn't matter in the end. What matters is you do it your way.' He said, 'I've been to some shows, and I see them trying to do it the way I did. And I actually didn't do it the way it was written. In the end, the way it was written didn't really serve me, so I changed it. And now people think that's how it was written, when it wasn't.'"
A sizable portion of the audience that flocks to theaters this December to see Les Misérables will be fans of the original Broadway show. Les Mis stands as one of the longest running shows in every country in which it has premiered, running from 1987 to 2003 here in the States. Many people have an idea of what Les Mis is, and more specifically, what Les Mis looks like.
A pair of new posters unearth my own preconceptions. Is Hugh Jackman fitting as Jean Valjean?
My clear concept of a "Jean Valjean" is completely informed by original Broadway cast member Colm Wilkinson. Older, bearded, and lived in, Wilkinson doesn't have the movie star physique that Jackman naturally sports. Though that might be one of the downsides of theater — an actor can only evolve so much over the course of a stage show. Perhaps Jackman transforms into an aged version of Valjean, but it's clear director Tom Hooper was going for something different with the star's casting. Here's Wilkinson performing "Bring Him Home" from Les Mis, for comparison:
Then we have Russell Crowe as the ruthless Javert:
The persistent inspector was originally portrayed by Philip Quast, who rocked some serious mutton chops along with a ponytail of pure evil. Crowe is his inverse, sporting a goatee and a well-trimmed hairdo. Here is Philip Quast, knocking Javert's famous number "Stars" out of the park:
It's hard to shake the impact of Wilkinson's and Mann's iconic performances. That's one of the biggest hurdles facing the movie version of Les Misérables. Jackman and Crowe have commanded the screen in the past, but can they wash away memories of the keystones of what made the stageplay a staple of Broadway? In this struggle, a change in looks may be vital. If Hooper dressed his leads up like their theatrical counterparts, fans (like myself) would likely recall them, perhaps to the movie's disfavor. By departing from the established look — and boldly presenting them in these posters — the creative team has made Les Misérables their own.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Universal Pictures (2)]
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Colm Wilkinson and Frances Ruffelle, who played Jean Valjean and Eponine onstage at the Barbican in 1985 and later transferred to Broadway, have landed speaking roles in the new film, which starts pre-production next week (beg30Jan12).
According to the Daily Mail, Wilkinson will play the Bishop of Digne and Ruffelle a whore.
With Hugh Jackman officially on board, Universal's adaptation of the stage musical Les Miserables is coming together quickly. THR has several cast additions to report, the most significant of which is Russell Crowe. The pugilistic Oscar winner is in talks to play Javert, the police inspector who will stop at nothing to capture and imprison the fugitive Jean Valjean (Jackman). Also set to join the cast of are Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter, both of whom worked with Les Mis director Tom Hooper on his previous film, The King's Speech. Rush and Carter will play the Thenardiers, greedy innkeepers whose shifty business practices are chronicled in the comical duet "Master of the House."
Universal today also announced a release date for Les Miserables: December 7, 2012.
While Jackman is no Colm Wilkinson, he is no stranger to musical theatre, having starred in The Boy From Oz on Broadway. Click on the image below to check out his gallery.