When a director wins the Oscar for Best Director, what they choose for their next project is very interesting, and can say a lot about what they want to achieve in their career. Of course, for the likes of a Martin Scorsese or the Coen Brothers it’s business as usual, but Danny Boyle used his newly acquired clout to get “127 Hours” made, while Kathryn Bigelow eyed two ambitious projects in “Triple Frontier” and “Kill Bin Laden” (which is shooting this year).
Tom Hooper has taken a different route, eyeing a variety of projects before deciding to take on the enduringly popular musical “Les Miserables” and lining up an all-star cast — Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, Amanda Seyfried — to tell the tale. With the casting of Samantha Barks in the role of Eponine (who was easily the highlight when this writer saw ‘Les Miz’ on stage) last week, the business of making the film is now getting into full swing and Hugh Jackman has let slip in a tweet that it will include an original song.
Producer Cameron Mackintosh confirmed that Hooper’s Jean Valjean was in fact correct, and that the new number is called “Suddenly” and has been written by the stage show’s original songwriting team of Claude-Michel Schonberg (pictured above with Jackman), Alain Boubil and Herbert Kretzmer. Mackintosh also confirmed that the film’s vocals would be performed live rather than dubbed, and that this would be the only new song to appear.
“It’s a really lovely new song,” Mackintosh told Playbill. “It was something that Alain and Claude-Michel came up with, after a passage in the book, which beautifully explains what happens when [Valjean] takes Cosette from the inn and looks after her. Herbie’s written a lovely lyric to it, and we’re all delighted how it seems to fit into the film version.”
We have to say, while we originally raised our eyebrows at Hooper’s ‘Les Miz,’ he may be slowly winning us round. He seems to have the right people around him in terms of those who made the stage show so successful for the past 25 years, and he also seems to be making some interesting artistic choices along the way. Perhaps the watershed moment was the choice to cast Barks over Taylor Swift. We’ll find out whether “Les Miserables” is the first great musical of the decade on December 7th.