A big screen adaptation of the musical version of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables has just premiered in New York and London.
Set in 19th century France, the story of former prisoner Jean Valjean, the police inspector who relentlessly pursues him, factory worker Fantine and her daughter Cosette has won fans all around the world.
Director Tom Hooper shot to international fame after helming “The King’s Speech” and has brought on board Anne Hathaway in the role of Fantine, with Isabelle Allen as Cosette.
Hugh Jackman landed the plum role of Jean Valjean, an experience he says he found exhausting:
“Jean Valjean I think pushes anyone. That’s the way he’s designed. Victor Hugo really was a masochist for actors. He knew one day he was going to take all those actor and just destroy them. I loved it. I mean he took everything from me and it was worth it. It was a beautiful, beautiful musical and an incredible story.”
Chasing Jean Valjean the length of France is Javert, played in Hooper’s version by Russell Crowe. “This is probably, seriously one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had on a film set,” says Crowe “I think from now on for the rest of my career, every time I start a film a small part of me will be wishing I’ll be starting ‘Les Mis’ again. I mean that’s how potent an experience this had been.”
The comic relief in the story is provided by the Thénardiers, the self-proclaimed ‘Master of the House’ and his long-suffering wife, who are played by Sacha Baron-Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter.