Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More Watch: First Trailer For Rom-Com 'Playing It Cool' With Chris Evans, Michelle Monaghan, Aubrey Plaza & More Watch: First Trailer For Rom-Com 'Playing It Cool' With Chris Evans, Michelle Monaghan, Aubrey Plaza & More Watch: First Trailer For ‘Serena’ Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper Watch: First Trailer For ‘Serena’ Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper First Look: Matthew McConaughey & Ken Watanabe In Gus Van Sant’s ‘Sea Of Trees’ First Look: Matthew McConaughey & Ken Watanabe In Gus Van Sant’s ‘Sea Of Trees’ Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made Revisiting On The Rise: Where Are Our 2012 Picks Now? Revisiting On The Rise: Where Are Our 2012 Picks Now? Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

Paul Bettany May Escape From Screen Gems Purgatory To Play Inspector Javert In 'Les Miserables'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com June 16, 2011 at 1:19AM

So, you might not be aware of this, but even with the awards buzz around his role in "A Single Man," Colin Firth wasn't the first choice to star in "The King's Speech," the film that became a phenomenon, and won the British veteran his first Oscar. In fact, the part was originally offered to Paul Bettany, star of, among others, "A Beautiful Mind," "Master and Commander" and "Dogville." Unfortunately, for Bettany, he was coming off a lengthy shoot for vampire actioner "Priest" (yes, it shot that long ago), and the actor turned the role down to spend time with his young family: an admirable decision, but one that the actor must view with some regret, considering his once-promising career has been stricken with bad action movies like the aforementioned "Priest" and "Legion," or sub-par dramas like "Creation" in recent years.
0


So, you might not be aware of this, but even with the awards buzz around his role in "A Single Man," Colin Firth wasn't the first choice to star in "The King's Speech," the film that became a phenomenon, and won the British veteran his first Oscar. In fact, the part was originally offered to Paul Bettany, star of, among others, "A Beautiful Mind," "Master and Commander" and "Dogville." Unfortunately, for Bettany, he was coming off a lengthy shoot for vampire actioner "Priest" (yes, it shot that long ago), and the actor turned the role down to spend time with his young family: an admirable decision, but one that the actor must view with some regret, considering his once-promising career has been stricken with bad action movies like the aforementioned "Priest" and "Legion," or sub-par dramas like "Creation" in recent years.

However, it seems that Bettany won't make the same mistake twice when a Tom Hooper-helmed project comes calling. Only last night, it was reported that "The King's Speech" helmer was courting Broadway veteran and megastar Hugh Jackman for his adaptation of the long-running musical version of Victor Hugo's classic novel "Les Miserables," for a role now confirmed to be that of Jean Valjean, the reformed convict who finds his past catching up to him as revolution brews in France. And it now seems that Hooper is still keen to work with Bettany, as Deadline now reports that the actor is a candidate to play Valjean's nemesis, the dogged policeman Inspector Javert.

As with Jackman, there's no offer, and no talks just yet, but Bettany has read for the part, and sung a selection of songs; we imagine the latter is the bigger concern, as Mr. Jennifer Connelly doesn't have the song-and-dance experience of his potential co-star (although he did busk on the streets of London as a teenager, so can presumably carry a tune). It's also worth noting that other actors seem to be in the running at this point. Still, Bettany's a strong choice for the part, which was last taken by Geoffrey Rush, opposite Liam Neeson in the 1997 non-musical film version. We're sure that if Oscar-winner Hooper wants him, he'll get him, and we suspect that the director's a fan, having pursued him for two projects in a row.

The script comes from "Gladiator" writer Bill Nicholson, and assuming everything goes smoothly from here, filming will begin in Europe before the end of the year on a project that is almost certainly already clearing space on its shelves for some Oscars. More news as the casting firms up.

This article is related to: Films, Actors, Musicals, Hugh Jackman, Paul Bettany, Les Miserables


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates