Russell Crowe has been tapped to play Inspector Javert in the upcoming film adaptation of the Broadway musical, “Les Miserables.” Crowe will play the villain to Hugh Jackman’s Jean Valjean, and there are reports that Anne Hathaway, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter might join the cast of the highly anticipated musical as well.
Personally, I think Crowe is the perfect choice for the part of Javert. Crowe hasn’t exactly sizzled in recent years, and he doesn’t quite have the qualities of a sexy leading man anymore. I mean, did anyone go see “Robin Hood?” But that doesn’t mean he’s not still a sensational actor. Plus, the man has pipes. No, he may not have a Broadway-quality voice, but he has all the depth and heft (no pun intended) to play the role of the domineering, self-righteous Javert.
There are plenty of critics out there who bemoan Hollywood adaptations of great musicals, mainly because they cast people like Russell Crowe in roles that are meant for Broadway performers, not movie stars. But the masses tend to disagree.
Look at “Chicago” – neither Catherine Zeta Jones nor Renee Zellweger exactly blew audiences away with their vocal talents. But they were good enough – in combination with a lot of amazing choreography, cinematography, and stellar backup vocals – to help earn the film the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year, 2003. And then there’s “Phantom of the Opera.” Gerard Butler didn’t have a perfect voice, but he had all the charisma in the world, and now he has an extremely successful acting career to go with it.
Besides, any doubts that die-hard Les Mis fans have about Crowe won’t prevent them from flocking to the theater to see Hugh Jackman in the role of Jean Valjean. Jackman can do no wrong. Whether he’s a time-traveling gentleman, a mutant super hero, or a futuristic robot boxer, Hugh Jackman is brilliant. He may be the only actor in Hollywood who can switch between crooning a Broadway tune to smashing someone’s face in on-screen without any trouble at all.
Ten years ago I might have put Crowe in the role of Valjean, but he has lost some of the charm that the role requires. Jackman has all the gravitas he’ll need to pull off portraying one of the most beloved characters in all of musical theater.
As for the rumors about Anne Hathaway joining the cast, I’m on the fence. She certainly has an excellent voice, but I wonder if she has the chops to play a role like Fantine. But then again, Hathaway usually surprises audiences with her versatility. Maybe we’ll start to take her more seriously soon.