Colm Wilkinson Told Hugh Jackman: 'Just Do It Your Way' On 'Les Miserable' Set [Exclusive]
Colm Wilkinson originated the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables in the Broadway musical, but when it came time for the film adaptation, he wasn’t offered the lead role. Instead he was cast as the Bishop, and at first he was hesitant about accepting the part.
“In regard to playing it, I was 50/50 about it initially to be quite honest," Wilkinson told Uinterview exclusively. "Mainly because, you know, I had created that role [Jean Valjean]. I thought to myself that maybe it was a step backwards. But actually, I began to see that it would be great to be associated with the project on a couple of levels, and I already studied the Bishop’s character.
“Mostly, I was excited about getting to work with [Hugh] Jackman and [Anne] Hathaway, there were certainly great people in there,” Wilkinson later added.
Jackman even sought out Wilkinson for advice, and Wilkinson was more than willing to give him some help.
“He did approach me at one stage. My advice was that everybody’s unique in their own way. Everybody does their own thing. Everybody does their thing in their own way, and Hugh Jackman is a very talented actor. He’s got this huge work ethic. He’s a very intelligent man. I knew that he would be applying himself to the role. I just said, ‘Look, my advice to you is just do it your way. Do it the way you want to do things. Do it the way you think you should do it. Don’t emulate me or copy me or anybody else for that matter. Just do what you feel emotionally is right for you.’ And obviously you don’t do that anyway. But I think he actually did a great job, and it’s a tough gig."
Wilkinson's advice certainly proved to be wise as Jackman went on to be nominated for the Academy Award for his turn as Valjean. Check out the Uinterview’s full exclusive interview with Wilkinson here.