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Seems The Long-Gestating LES MISERABLES Musical Movie Has Found A Badass Director!!


Merrick here...

THIS piece at Deadline says that the awesome Tom Hooper - who helmed the staggeringly good JOHN ADAMS miniseries and so competently turned THE KING'S SPEECH into a picture that was far more magnificent than it could've been (he won an Oscar for it) - looks to be zeroing in on his next project.  

The dealmaking has started for Hooper to direct Les Miserables, a full-blown musical adaptation of the Cameron Mackintosh-produced perennial stage hit. This is the first film he's begun negotiations on since winning the Oscar, but insiders in Hooper's camp stopped short of saying it would definitively be his next film. I hear that's how it will work out.

I'm not the world's biggest fan of the musical - I don't hate it, but I've yet to encounter a version that didn't bore me a bit.  This said, Hopper's unique aesthetic - paired with his unerring since of detail and character  - could, at the very least, turn a LES MIS film into a potent cinematic experience.  

Very interested to see how this develops...


— follow Merrick on Twitter ! ---

Readers Talkback
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  • March 25, 2011, 8:52 a.m. CST

    Will Hooper Offer Ordinary Direction Again

    by roberthorry

    As he did with The King's Speech?

  • March 25, 2011, 8:55 a.m. CST

    While I don't have an issue with TKS being BP

    by roberthorry

    It is absurd that Hooper won an Oscar for Best Director with the vastly superior talent in that field.

  • March 25, 2011, 8:57 a.m. CST

    Movie news your mother could love

    by TheFanboy

    I'm just saying, this news skews a LITTLE older than the typical stuff on this site. That doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to it as well.

  • March 25, 2011, 8:57 a.m. CST

    Miyazaki would be ideal

    by Spandau Belly

    Do a nice animated musical version like oldschool Disney.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Best News of the Day

    by ThisBethesdaSea

    Aside from Lloyd Webbers Phantom (who's movie translation was just about an abomination) Les Mis is my next favorite musical.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:10 a.m. CST

    In what sense is Hooper a badass director?

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Please explain.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Remember the crowd reaction shots

    by kwisatzhaderach

    when the King is making his speech at the closing of the exhibition? The guy responsible for those won the Oscar for Best Director. <p> Amazing.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:13 a.m. CST

    "Hooper's unique aesthetic"

    by kwisatzhaderach


  • March 25, 2011, 9:14 a.m. CST

    So does Valjean want God to "Bring Him Home" or "Let Him Live"

    by cookylamoo

    I've never been able to figure that out.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Bring Back Geoffrey Rush As Javert

    by DrSherlockHouse

    He played him in the 1998 film, and worked with Hooper in King's Speech. Could even re-team and have Firth as Jean Valjean

  • March 25, 2011, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Stage to Film

    by irongeezer

    I love this musical, my all-time favorite Broadway play. I must have seen the stage version at least 8 or 9 times, twice in London. The 10th and 25th anniversary concert performances were just awesome. My only concern is how they deal with the "talking" between major numbers - will they keep it as sing-song, like Rent, or just speak those parts? I think for Les Mis the latter might be preferable. I think the key to this movie will be the casting of Javert.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:25 a.m. CST

    How the fuck is Tom Hooper "badass"?

    by D Ropaela

    Competent? Skilled? Solid? Yes. Badass? Gimme a fucking break. Tom Hooper is a more refined Ron Howard. That's it.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Rush as Javert

    by Jesse Kroh

    No please no...How about people that can sing the parts, play the parts. That will be a new concept for the modern Hollywood Musical.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:26 a.m. CST


    by Mickster_Island

    The Paris Chainsaw Revolution! The Broadway Hugo Massacre or some funnier, more thoughtful variation of the's not working for me...

  • March 25, 2011, 9:32 a.m. CST

    Too bad Javert and Pervert don't Rhyme.

    by cookylamoo

  • March 25, 2011, 9:34 a.m. CST


    by Mickster_Island

    That's a talkie...This news is about a musical version. There have been numerous "straight" versions of this story on film over the years (going back to the 30s).

  • March 25, 2011, 9:34 a.m. CST

    If you're looking for a fun musical....

    by cookylamoo

    Go see "The Book of Mormon" a true post-modern American Musical.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:34 a.m. CST


    by Mickster_Island

  • March 25, 2011, 9:37 a.m. CST

    'Bout time!

    by erik_a

    Been waiting for this movie since I saw an ad that it was coming out in the summer of 1992. The ad was in the back of a souvenir brochure that I bought when I saw the touring production in Kansas City. I hope it will be better than the movie Phantom of the Opera. Shcumacher screwed that up royally.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:38 a.m. CST


    by Billyeveryteen

    Yeah I really dig this musical. The 10th anniversary was tits! 25th? Not so much.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:40 a.m. CST


    by erik_a

    He's talking about Marius. In the barricades, Marius is asleep, Jean Valjean has found out this is the man his daughter, Cosette, loves, so he's there to protect Marius. 'Bring Him Home' just means he wants to make sure he comes home from the skirmish the students have gotten themselves into, and 'Let him live' just means that. Let Marius live so his daughter can marry him.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Liam Neeson sings!

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    One can hope.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:41 a.m. CST


    by erik_a

    This is the musical version, not an adaptation from the book.

  • March 25, 2011, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Oh, I thought he was singing to God the whole time.

    by cookylamoo

    Bring him home, Let him Live. WTF!!!

  • March 25, 2011, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Marius is to Les Mis what Deanna Troi is to TNG

    by Mickster_Island

    Dull and self-righteous in the midst of general awesomeness

  • March 25, 2011, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Geez, thinman...nobody's forcing you to buy a ticket

    by Mickster_Island

    They're not using your tax money to fund this movie either. And besides, it's an excellent story. Filming a musical version of Les Mis is not exactly the same as planning the sequel to the Gobots film before the first movie has even been released.

  • March 25, 2011, 10 a.m. CST

    If you original ideas - don't watch movies! Watch British TV

    by Mickster_Island

    For movie execs to invest in a movie, it had better pay off. Why invest in a new story when you could spend your money on a movie that has built-in fan bases? Like superhero movies, remakes, and novels have. Not only do these stories/characters/products have built-in fan bases, they also have crazy loyal fans who will bitch about how they're doing things wrong and give the movie TONS of free press. It sucks, but it's the truth. Movie companies do not care about you.

  • March 25, 2011, 10:01 a.m. CST

    *want original ideas

    by Mickster_Island

  • March 25, 2011, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Best Musical Ever

    by Geekster

    Les Mes is my personal favorite musical of all time. I know for some, the musical theme can bore some, but encapsilate others. The music and story simply moves me and I look forward to this musical adaption. In other words . . . It's gonna kick some fucking ass!!!!

  • March 25, 2011, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Meatloaf as Valjean?

    by Customikey

    If you must hire celebs, at least hire celebs who can actually sing it!

  • March 25, 2011, 10:46 a.m. CST

    I'd go see this.

    by Chewtoy

    I saw Schumacher's "Phantom" film on cable... god, that was a waste. I think "Les Mis" is dated (much like Phantom) but I don't really mind. I think they have the right director to do it, and it shouldn't cost an insane amount of money either. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

  • March 25, 2011, 10:51 a.m. CST


    by Lucky13

    Agreed with you there. My 7th grade french class went to see it in NYC (Broadway, if I remember correctly) during the school's field trip... Along with Cats. I wanted to kill myself to get out of the hell that was Cats... But Les Mis was pretty awesome, and I pretty much hate musicals (though admittedly, I haven't given all that many a chance). Les Mis was the one exception.

  • March 25, 2011, 10:52 a.m. CST


    by slappy magoo

    You're trying too hard. Dial it back. Pick your spots.

  • March 25, 2011, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Yeah Yeah, I'm waiting for the British TV Musical of "Misfits"

    by cookylamoo

    "Here by the river I get a hanker" "To strip off my jumpsuit and have me a wanker"

  • March 25, 2011, 10:55 a.m. CST


    by slappy magoo

    I'm not sure Meatloaf ever had the range (especially in the higher vocals) for Jean Valjean, but if you've heard him lately, you'd know he sure doesn't have it now. Though I think ex-Marillion lead singer Fish would make a pretty inspired Thenardier.

  • March 25, 2011, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Why not something MOTHERFUCKING ORIGINAL??!??!

    by torontoxic

    Or did we all just give up or that? We'll do nothing but recycle whatever garbage makes a certain small group of people happy over and over until Hollywood is a shrivelled, decaying husk? I won't see this. I will never see it.

  • March 25, 2011, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Staggeringly good?

    by Thunderbolt Ross

    I mean in the sense I rented it from Netflix and thus watched it in a staggered fashion, and it was good, sure.

  • March 25, 2011, 11:01 a.m. CST

    Jean de Baton!

    by kermit_the_fraud

    Jean de Baton! Jean de Baton-Baton!!

  • March 25, 2011, 11:08 a.m. CST


    by Spielbergs Furious Racism


  • March 25, 2011, 11:10 a.m. CST


    by maxwell's hammer

    There is certainly some lacking in today's Hollywood, but there has never been a true adaptation of the Broadway show, which I think has a lot of potential as a film. If it were McG or Marc Webb or some other up-and-coming hotshot directing it, I'd probably be more dismissive, but while Tom Hooper may not be 'badass', I do think he's a good fit for the material, and shows that whoever is producing this thing is taking it seriously and not just as a cashgrab. Also, somebody change creepythinman's diaper.

  • March 25, 2011, 11:18 a.m. CST

    "The 10th anniversary was tits! 25th? Not so much."

    by jim

    I really enjoyed the 25th. I did find the limited character interaction in the 25th anniversary concert to be somewhat off-putting. Not criticizing the cast as they were all quite good and no doubt terrific when they were actually performing the play. After all, it's a concert and not a performance of the play. But if you watch the 10th it does seem to have a bit more "performance" than the 25th did. Perfect example is the staging of "A Little Fall of Rain". 25th they stood side by side and as it ends Eponine drops behind Marius a couple of steps. As opposed to the 10th where they performed it with Marius holding her the entire song. Best part of the 25th was the 4 Valjeans, and the Original Cast Reunion songs. That alone would have been worth the price of admission.

  • March 25, 2011, 11:24 a.m. CST

    Of course!

    by The StarWolf

    After all, it isn't as though there already was an excellent film version of LES ... oh, wait...

  • March 25, 2011, 11:26 a.m. CST

    harry crosbie brought the original production over...

    by emeraldboy

    to the then point theatre, now the O2. and it was one of the greatest theatrical experiences I have ever seen. They brought it over again and it wasnt as good. but to see it again with Colm Wilikinson in the role he created on the london stage was worth it. a little bit hyped the second time but when you first see that scene where they literally turn the stage around in front of your eyes it was mindblowing. now les miserable is no longer a stage show its a concert event with an orchestra back singers and a full choir. and a new melody. but master of the house can you hear the people sing and one more day are three of the greatest modern songs in modern musicals.

  • March 25, 2011, 11:31 a.m. CST

    About time!

    by Durendal

    I was wondering when we'd see a film adaptation of the musical! The only problem is length. Les Miserables, either as a book adaptation or the musical, is friggin' LONG. It's hard to carve it down to even 2 1/2 hours without culling a lot of story, especially with all the musical numbers. Hell, the soundtrack alone has about the runtime of a full-length movie. But who to cast? The original Javert, Terrence Mann, might just try to come back. The guy did take a stab at a film career (Did you know that Javert was Ug in the Critters series?), so maybe they could dredge him up to reprise the role.

  • March 25, 2011, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Re: In what sense is Hooper a badass director?

    by Acquanetta

    In the sense that the word "badass" has been overused to such an extent, it no longer has any meaning? I assume that's what Merrick was getting at here.

  • March 25, 2011, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Have any of you seen "Les Jizz?"

    by WriteForTheEdit

    The all-female-squirting porn version? It's really, really awesome. Oh, wait, shit, this movie only exists in my head, sorry...

  • March 25, 2011, 11:39 a.m. CST

    Tomorrow you'll be worlds awaaay...

    by UltraTron

    Oow get Liam to star again.

  • March 25, 2011, 11:40 a.m. CST

    by Omar B

    "This said, Hopper's unique aesthetic - paired with his unerring since of detail and character - could, at the very least, turn a LES MIS film into a potent cinematic experience." It's sense bud.

  • March 25, 2011, 11:41 a.m. CST

    Actually I'd put schumachers phantom higher on that

    by UltraTron

    list if it had uncompressed audio on the blu

  • March 25, 2011, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Miserables does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    The dojo loves a good musical and Les Mis is one of the very best. Only problems I can see in adapting it is that the story starts off as the cat & mouse story of Jean ValJean and Javert. But then halfway in it becomes the story of Marius and the revolutionaries. That might not work quite so comfortably on film as it does on the stage. The other thing is the running time. They'd have to prune and cut a good few numbers out of this to bring it in at 2 hours, and that might lessen the impact too.

  • March 25, 2011, 11:58 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    edit, Les Jizz?! Female squirting really isnt sexy. Just wrong. WRONG!

  • March 25, 2011, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Cobra: not a fan of wet 'n' wild females?

    by WriteForTheEdit

    I can see that it might be an acquired taste, so to speak. Me, I'm cool with the occasional downpour. Cytheria... Damn...

  • March 25, 2011, 12:27 p.m. CST

    cutting a good few numbers

    by maxwell's hammer

    Remember when Debbie Gipson boycotted the Liam Neeson film because they completely cut Eponine from that film?

  • March 25, 2011, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Lea Michele

    by bookant

    For Eponine. She's already played the part on stage, and she'll bring some box office draw because of "Glee."

  • March 25, 2011, 12:44 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Edit, the downpour from downsouth is a step too far! Hang on, I've always said I'd try anything once. Maybe if I wore one of those novelty baseball caps with an umbrella on top...

  • March 25, 2011, 12:56 p.m. CST

    Great idea, bookant

    by 3D-Man

    I think she's irritating, but she'd be perfect!

  • March 25, 2011, 1:17 p.m. CST


    by chromedome

    Les Miserables is a great story. The original novel(s) are epic in a way not dissimilar to the Lord of the Rings. There was a non-musical film made a LONG time ago, and Anthony Perkins was brilliant as Javert. For me, subsequent film versions were not as good, but that could be just because you tend to like the first one you see the best. In my memory, I enjoyed it the most, but if I saw it today, I might find it dated or something. The stage musical is fantastic. I didn't really know what it was, and had occasion to go kind of by chance. I'm not big on musicals for the sake of musicals, as often the lyrics are seeming hammered into place, very forced and strained, or they just seem completely disconnected (the "burst into song" variety) which annoys me even more. Les Miz was the antithesis of that, in my experience. It seemed completely organic to me, the characters, their themes, the music, the wording, the lyrics, the staging, the direction. Side note: Les Miserables "The Book" was published around the time of our Civil War, and became known over here then. Soldiers in General Lee's army joked that, based on the title alone, it must be about them--pronouncing it, as they did, "Lee's Miserables"

  • March 25, 2011, 1:33 p.m. CST


    by Destry

    hell, if peter jackson can drag "king kong" out to three hours, they'll leave most of the songs in "les miz." and god help me, i can't wait.

  • March 25, 2011, 2:15 p.m. CST

    The Liam Neeson film is great, the play is great

    by Jaster

    It would be nice to smoosh the two together and make an all-out musical.

  • March 25, 2011, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Amazing show

    by zacdilone

    If it bored you, you must have not seen a very good production. Saw it in London a few years back, and it was riveting. And as far as "Bring Him Home," I can see the confusion. "Home" in this case is not heaven, but actual home, where he can love Cosette for the rest of his life. So "Bring Him Home" and "Let Him Live" mean the exact same thing.

  • March 25, 2011, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Maybe Merrick thought it was Tobe Hooper

    by Jet Jaguar

  • March 25, 2011, 3:08 p.m. CST

    by glenn_the_frog

    Colm Wilson and Terrance Man should both be Valjean and Javert. They're both in their early 60's now, which is a bit old for the start of the story, and a strain for a major movie production, but about the right age for the second half. There will be younger actors to balance it out. Can just dye their hair lighter in the first bit, use some makeup to make em look a little younger. Heck, Wilson just did a performance last December.

  • March 25, 2011, 3:40 p.m. CST

    Just for shits and giggles...

    by UltimaRex

    If you could get Hooper and Snyder to switch projects, would you?

  • March 25, 2011, 4:08 p.m. CST

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand cue collective yawn....

    by maxjohnson1971


  • March 25, 2011, 4:18 p.m. CST

    I thought

    by funkylovemonkey

    Hooper was the least interesting part of the John Adams miniseries. Good acting, decent script, dull workmanlike direction. I haven't seen the King's Speech yet so I can't comment on that, but so far Hooper hasn't convinced me he's up to the task. Casting could also be problematic... the Valjean part is tremendously difficult, it requires quite a bit of range, and Hollywood has a track record of shoehorning in actors with average voices into challenging parts and hoping nobody will notice. Like Gerard Butler in Phantom.

  • March 25, 2011, 4:54 p.m. CST


    by avidavid

    ...not a fan of the new Marius? o_0

  • March 25, 2011, 7:29 p.m. CST

    He's so badass his nose stole his chin

    by torontoxic I only say this because this idea sucks monstrous balls. He's probably a perfectly nice guy but badass he ain't.

  • March 26, 2011, 12:13 a.m. CST


    by Gryph

    The Liam Neeson version was based on the book, not on the musical and is quite a different experience. Also, not everyone appreciated that their strategy for handling the beloved character of Eponine was to have her NOT BE IN IT.

  • Is like saying we don't need "the Dark Knight" because we had "Batman and Robin" Or fuck... that we don't need this new Captain america movie because we had the 1992 (or whenever) Captain America movie. The musical is the same story...but it is entirely its own piece of art beyond Victor Hugo's novel. Making the musical into a movie isn't the same as coming out with the 212th movie version of "A Christmas Carol" or something. It deserves a film adaptation on its own merrit. PLus the 1998 movie followed the first half of the nove religiously, then took a giant turn on the second half, and took ridiculous liberties with the characters and thier motivations. I know the people complaining don't give a shit about any of the things I've mentioned above and thats fine...but it begs the question...if you are disinterested enough to not know why they would need to make an adaptaion of the musical, why bitch in the first place?

  • March 26, 2011, 4:42 a.m. CST

    STILL haven't heard the musical

    by Marat

    But I've read/seen quite a few film adaptations. Personal preference, my fav is the one with Norman Bates at Javert. That's what I call GOOD casting! Too bad the 'DVD' has a horrible transfer and looks no better than a vhs to DVD.

  • March 26, 2011, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Ah, Les Miserables

    by thepoohguy

    Definitely my favorite musical. The part about Marius and the war is still about Valjean and Javert. From Valjean's time with Fantine, his whole life is consumed with taking care of Eponine. That's Vlajean's intention of going to the battle scene. He knows he's getting old and is going to die, so he needs to ensure that he can put Eponine in the right hands for her future. He isolated her from the world to protect himself, but he now knows that he needs to protect her. As for "Bring Him Home", the Home does not refer to heaven, but home to Eponine. He wants God to keep Marius safe and bring him home to Eponine, that's why he says let him live. And for those of you complaining about "original" work because Liam did a film version 13 years ago...the book was by Victor Hugo written when? Wow if talkbacks were around in 1960 would people complain that they were making a film version of The Sound of Music? Oh, and one other thing...Gerard Butler completely ruined Phantom of the Opera. That is all.

  • March 26, 2011, 12:26 p.m. CST

    The greatest musical

    by The Page

    The book contains one of the best stories in literature, and is a fantastic, if sometimes rambling read. <p>The musical (as it became after coming from France to England) is capable of standing on its own as an incredible artistic achievement, from the music itself, the arrangements, the lyrics and Herbert Kretzmer's superb English translation, to the direction and staging. <p>There was talk of this film passed around years and years ago, and I had given up hope it would ever see the light of day. This is fucking FANTASTIC news and I can now only pray they don't screw it up. <p>First of all, as others have said, get people who can really sing. Secondly, don't be afraid to make it long. Les Mis is fucking long and deserves to be long because the music justifies it. <p>I'd also really support the casting of Lea Salonga as Fantine. I know she cut her teeth playing Eponine, but now she's a bit older she's perfect for Fantine, as she proved at the 25th anniversary gig at the 02 (which I am lucky enough to have attended). I'd also support the non-casting of that thin-voiced Jonas toddler who played Marius at the same gig. Damn, was he the weak link.

  • March 26, 2011, 7:49 p.m. CST

    isn't there already a les mis movie?

    by Cap'n Jack

  • March 27, 2011, 9:44 a.m. CST

    "isn't there already a les mis movie?"

    by jim

    Marvel Studios just read that and, following that "logic", decided to destroy all prints of The First Avenger since there already is a Captain America movie. As many have said above, there have been several movies adaptations of Les Miserables. However, there has never been a film version of the musical. So, in a sense, no, there isn't a "les mis movie".

  • March 27, 2011, 3:56 p.m. CST

    I agree biggie, the 4 Valjeans WAS pretty great...

    by Billyeveryteen

    But the Valjeans from across the globe in various languages was thunderously awesome. Made the whole world feel a little cozier.

  • March 28, 2011, 12:08 a.m. CST


    by Steepdog1

    I agree... but I'm assuming you know you meant "Cossette" and not "Eponine."

  • Gerard Butler can't sing for shit and he was the Phantom of the Opera. Shoesucker has openly admitted in interviews that he's "a sucker for beauty" and cast people more on their looks/"presence" than singing ability. Unfortunately you can't PRESENCE your way through MUSIC OF THE NIGHT!