12 Days of ‘Misérables’: Meet Inspector Javert

by | December 18, 2012 at 5:19 PM | 12 Days of 'Miserables', Movies

Russell Crowe as Javert (Photo: Universal)

Celebrate the December 25th release of Universal’s movie musical epic “Les Misérables” with 12 days of interviews and inside peeks at the film’s production with director Tom Hooper, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and more of the cast.

Eight years after vowing to transform his life, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) has established a decent life as Monsieur Madeleine, a town mayor and factory worker.

However, Valjean’s comfortable existence is disrupted when his former prison nemesis Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) comes to town and senses something familiar in the mayor. After nearly a decade of hunting the parole-breaking criminal, Javert may have finally caught his man. Unfortunately for the hard-nosed officer, his suspicions are blown to bits when he receives word that the convict Valjean (or a man presumed to be him) has been arrested elsewhere in France.

Javert’s embarrassment over the mistake gave director Tom Hooper an opening to give audiences of the new “Les Misérables” film adaptation a deeper look into the lawman’s psyche, as well as honor the Victor Hugo novel on which it is based.

Click here to watch ‘Les Mis’ clips and behind-the-scenes videos

“The thing I suppose I got inspired by from the book, and also by Charles Laughton’s performance in one of the original versions, was where Javert goes to see the mayor and says, ‘I’ve committed a crime against you, because I’ve reported that you are the convict Jean Valjean. I was wrong, and therefore you have to press charges against me,’” Hooper explained. “This is a new thing to put into the musical. The idea that this man would fall on his sword that early in the story, that he had such a code of honor, that he lived by the rule that if he ever did wrong by his own standards, he would be willing to destroy himself. Such was his code of honor.”

“I found that very intriguing,” he continued. “It stops Javert from being a bad guy. In fact, he’s a deeply honorable guy – almost sort of Japanese levels of that sort of honor code and the rigidity of that code.”

Of course, the story doesn’t end here, and the reformed Valjean refuses to let anyone – even his enemy – take punishment for his actions. Prisoner 24601 is on the run again, but this time he has a destination. In Monterfermeil, he has vowed to retrieve the daughter of a poor factory worker who had no other choice but to give her up.

And with her, Jean Valjean will experience love for the very first time.

 

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