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Les Misérables producer Cameron Mackintosh confirmed that the in-production film version of the epic Victor Hugo-inspired musical will feature a new song for Jean Valjean, the hero played by Hugh Jackman.
The actor Tweeted on Feb. 7 that he was honored to be learning the new song with composer Claude-Michel Schönberg. When stage and screen star Jackman uses Twitter, fans listen.
“Well, he did warn us he was going to Tweet,” Mackintosh told Playbill.com on Feb. 8. “He didn’t hear the song until yesterday when he went through it with Claude-Michel.”
Written by the stage hit’s original songwriting team of Schönberg, Alain Boublil and lyricist Herbert Kretzmer, the new number is called “Suddenly,” the producer revealed.
“It’s a really lovely new song,” Mackintosh said by telephone from London, where the film, directed by Oscar winner Tom Hooper, is in rehearsal before shooting starts in March. “It was something that Alain and Claude-Michel came up with, after a passage in the book, which beautifully explains what happens when [Valjean] takes Cosette from the inn and looks after her. Herbie’s written a lovely lyric to it, and we’re all delighted how it seems to fit into the film version.
“The whole thing has been written by Alain and Claude-Michel in the same way they’ve worked with Herbie on the original score — I think rather religiously. They’ve gone back to their working methods of 30 years ago!”
Colm Wilkinson, the original Jean Valjean in the 1985 London and 1987 Broadway productions of Les Misérables, will play the pivotal role of the Bishop of Digne in the new film of the musical, Universal Pictures and Working Title Films confirmed.
The good bishop’s act of kindness and mercy propels petty criminal Valjean (to be played by Hugh Jackman) into a life in service of humanity, setting the events of the story in motion. “I have bought your soul for God,” sings the cleric.
Irish-born Wilkinson was a 1987 Best Actor Tony Award nominee for playing Valjean. It was his only Broadway appearance.