Any Plans to Put the Broadway "Les Miserables" on Film?

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the of Opera is coming to theaters in December 2004.

I’m wondering if there are any plans to put the Alain Boublil-Claude Michel Schonberg Les Miserables on film. I know that there’s a DVD of a concert version of the show, where all of the principal actors stand on stage and sing their lines, but there’s nothing (that I know of) with the acting and the sets and all that.

So, Hollywood insiders, what’s the scoop?

It’s been done.

It was released in 1998 and starred Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean, Uma Thurman as Fantine, Geoffrey Rush as Inspector Javert, and Claire Danes as Cosette.

I haven’t seen it, but in the previews it looked beautiful. The reviews were generally good.

That was an adaption of the book, not the musical, and is generally hated by people who read the book (I haven’t seen it, so I can’t judge it personally.)

I love Les Miz the musical, and I would look forward to seeing that version put on-screen.

I haven’t read the book, but I did see the 1998 movie, and can honestly say “it didn’t suck.” But that’s about the extent of my praise.

I have a 1991 souvenir book from a performance of the show and it has an add that says “Coming to the cinema in 1992!” and then it never happened.

I did see the 1998 movie and I was one of the ones who had read the book and hated the movie. They eliminated the character of Enjolras and enveloped him into Marius. That’s only one of the many changes that ruined the story for me.

And the movie got rid of Eponine. She’s my favorite character.

I will join the uncountable leagues of those who love the book and hated the movie. It dealt with the problem of length by focusing on the story of Valjean, Cosette, and Marius, and eliminated or terminally abridged almost all of the subplots and secondary characters. I missed Eponine, there wasn’t much left of Gavroche, and Javert was a shadow of his former self.

If Phantom is a success then I’m sure Les Miz will soon follow.
I also just read where a new production of Phantom will be put up in Vegas. It will be shorter (90 mins) and I’m sure in some ways ‘bigger’ than the b’way show.
It seems to me that the Paris Hotel in Vegas should have Les Miz as it’s show. Shouldn’t it?

Except, as others have pointed out, it’s not an adaption of the musical, but rather, the book. And what’s more, in the 2nd half of the film, it bears very little resemblence to the book at all.

In fact, The musicial is perhaps the only one I’ve seen so far that’s gotten Javert’s character right.

And there has been some dozens adaptations of the book over the years. I believe the first one dates back to the 20’s or 30’s.

Try 1911

I’m not so sure. While PotO has its share of lavish design and production values, it is still a much smaller work (in scale) than LM. Think Chicago (some period piece, but also heavily stylized with one main set as a centerpiece) vs. Evita (casts of thousands, epic battles, more history and less romance, etc.).

Madonna’s Evita, despite having debatably the biggest female star in the world, did not do very well financially. It didn’t make its costs back in the States, and it was a huge enterprise mired in pre-production wrangling for years and years. And even the ALW/TR musical didn’t have as many characters and plot threads than LM does. The sheer logistical challenge of adapting and staging it would be more than most financieers would be willing to invest in (especially since it’s not like LM is exactly a surefire property, its B’way popularity notwithstanding).

PotO would have to be huge to overcome the trepidation that naturally emerges when conronting the Hugo project. I’m sure someday there’ll be an adaptation, but it’ll probably be a high-risk labor of love. The success of one or two recent musicals doesn’t automatically equate to Box Office Gold (especially when 19th-century French politics is your subject matter)