The movie-musical is a difficult nut to crack. The genre’s proven the undoing of great filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, and, in the modern era, for every smash big-screen hit like “Chicago” or “Hairspray,” there’s a “Nine,” a “Phantom of the Opera” or a “Rent” stinking up the joint. But this Christmas’ big hope has the kind of pedigree that suggests it’s got a better run at Oscar and box-office glory than most.
“Les Miserables,” the adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel, has been running in the West End and Broadway for over 25 years, and has been watched by something around 70 million people, so clearly there’s an audience for it. And the new film is helmed by Tom Hooper, who won an Oscar for “The King’s Speech,” with an A-list cast led by Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham-Carter, so it’s not exactly lacking in talent.
We’re going to get our first look at the film in motion when the trailer debuts tomorrow (it’ll be in front of “Snow White And The Huntsman” starting on Friday), but in advance of that, USA Today have premiered a selection of images from the film (as well as a couple more dug up by The Film Stage). They’re frustratingly small, but still provide our best look at Jackman as escaped convict Valjean, Crowe as dogged policeman Javert, Hathaway as starving prostitute Fantine and Seyfried as her daughter, Cosette, along with Eddie Redmayne (“My Week With Marilyn“) as student Marius, and newcomer Samantha Barks as Eponine, who’s in love with Marius.
It’s one of these things that could go either way — “The Phantom of the Opera” was another global hit musical that withered when translated to the screen — but Hooper’s certainly assembled of a hell of a cast here (to say nothing of the Oscar-winner who we hear makes a surprise cameo in the picture…), and has a good a chance of getting it right as anyone. “Les Miserables” hits theaters on December 7th; keep your eyes peeled for that trailer some time tomorrow.