There has been a lot of drama and controversy surrounding the casting of the upcoming film adaptation of Les Miserables. There have been cheers for many of the selections, such as Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thernardier. There have been a few maybes, such as Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert (he’s got the acting chops, but can he sing?!) and Amanda Seyfried as Cosette (they say she has opera training, but all I can think of is Karen from Mean Girls). And of course, there have been the choices that have been booed since the start (Taylor Swift as Eponine, anyone?)
The latest reveal in casting, however, is one that every true Les Miz lover is sure to agree with. Colm Wilkinson, the original Jean Valjean from the 1985 West End production and the 1987 Broadway production, will be making an appearance the new film.
Wilkinson will be playing the bishop that takes pity on Jean Valjean after he is released from prison and gives him shelter for the night. Further advancing his compassion, when Valjean steals his silver (because he’s been in prison for 19 years and is broke as shit), he lies to the police who catch him (Valjean is really not good at stealing) and says that Valjean forgot the bishop’s candlesticks! Basically he’s the nicest guy in the world, and sets Valjean on the path towards righteousness.
I love old cast member cameos in musical film adaptions, and couldn’t be happier that they’re giving Wilkinson such a compassionate role in the adaptation. The film’s release is set for December 2012.