I’m not sure a new generation of filmgoers will rush out to see a film that mainly appeals to musical theater nerds and history buffs, and which has the most easily mispronounced title since “Synecdoche, New York,” but apparently it’s already been decided that next Christmas we will be treated to the “Les Miserables” musical film adaptation that someone, somewhere out there, is dying to see. Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe (whom, by Nia Vardalos’s standards, still may be totally fat) are already warming up their man-pipes for the main roles.
It will be war offscreen as well as on: Baz Luhrmann’s 3-D “The Great Gatsby” adaptation will be released around the same time as Les Miz, and I foresee gruesome box-office competition between them. Perhaps the best hope for the Victor Hugo adaptation is to try and outdo Baz in the stunt-casting department. Sure, Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan is appearing in “Gatsby” for free, but I bet Bai Ling would agree to appear in “Les Miserables” for even less than that, and she was born to play Éponine. Also, please (please) don’t deny Susan Boyle the moment she has waited her entire life for. This is her movie — the rest of us are merely paying $12 at the theater to borrow it for a couple of hours. And anyway, Helena Bonham Carter (currently cast as Madame Thenardier) has already used up her period-musical goodwill (“Sweeney Todd”), and has also hogged up the Miss Havisham role in the upcoming Great Expectations adaptation, so please tell her to go find some other house to haunt.
As for supporting men, I’m praying that at sixteen, weirdo child-star icon Jacob Kogan (who terrorized us in “Wonder Showzen” and the horror film “Joshua,” but then established himself as the child star you’d most like to have a beer with by playing young Spock in the “Star Trek” remake) is still young enough to play the wily street urchin Gavroche. And any leftover parts should probably go to YouTube star Shyaporn, who proved last year that he could play the entire cast at once, if need be:
Director Tom Hooper has a stressful few months ahead of him as casting continues. Everyone will want in on this — I’m imagining B- and C-list stars desperately appearing at the studio, daubed with soot and dressed in tatters to prove they’ve got it down, perhaps even hurling cobblestones as they are escorted off the lot. If our recommendations can help circumvent some of that upheaval, it’s all in a day’s work. Remember, every generation gets the “Les Miz” that they deserve, so here’s hoping for the biggest, weirdest (and with any luck, shortest) version of all time.