Russell Crowe has been cast in the new film adaptation of the Broadway musical "Les Miserables," joining Hugh Jackman, a reports says.
Crowe, 47, will play Inspector Javert, a stern lawman who spends years hunting down Jackman's character, Jean Valjean, a man who stole bread to feed his family and escapes jail and his past. Valjean rescues an impoverished orphan girl and joins a group of student revolutionaries in 19th century France but spends his life trying to find redemption.
Tom Hooper, director of the Oscar-winning film "The King's Speech," will helm the new "Les Miserables" movie, which will be distributed by Universal Pictures and is set for release on Dec. 7, 2012, Deadline.com reported.
The studio and actors have not commented. Deadline reported that Sir Cameron Mackintosh, producer of the musical, is also co-producing the movie.
"Even though I have dreamt about making the film of Les Miserables for over 25 years, I could never have imagined that we would end up with the dream director Tom Hooper, and the dream cast of Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe as the two great protagonists Jean Valjean and Javert," Deadline quoted Mackintosh as saying.
Crowe, a former professional musician who rose to fame with the 2000 film "Gladiator," has prior musical theatre experience. He played Eddie/Dr. Scott and sometimes, main character Dr. Frank-N-Furter, in a stage production of "The Rocky Horror Show" in Australia and his native New Zealand in the 1980s.
He also portrayed the main role of Mickey in an Australian production of the British musical "Blood Brothers."
Jackman, 42, has also starred in musicals on stage before. He appeared in "The Boy From Oz" on Broadway and in "Oklahoma!" in London. He has often showcased his singing skills on television, including at award ceremonies.
Unconfirmed reports say Anne Hathaway, who sang with Jackman at the 2009 Oscars, may play the role of Fantine, the mother of the girl that Valjean adopts, while Lucy Hale of the ABC Family series "Pretty Little Liars" may portray Eponine, the real daughter of a couple who fostered the child.
The Tony award-winning musical "Les Miserables" is based on an 1862 novel by Victor Hugo and opened in London in 1985 and on Broadway two years later.
"Les Miserables" the musical features the song "I Dreamed A Dream," famously covered by "Britain's Got Talent" finalist Susan Boyle, and has starred celebrities such as Patti Lupone, Nick Jonas, Ricky Martin and Lea Salonga, the singing voice of Princess Jasmine and Mulan from the Disney movies "Aladdin" and "Mulan."
Many adaptaions of "Les Miserables" have been released, including a 1998 movie based on the novel, which was not a musical. Javert was played by Geoffrey Rush, who starred in "The King's Speech" and portrayed Barbossa in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. Liam Neeson played Valjean and Claire Danes played his adoptive daughter, Cosette.