Colm Wilkinson originated the role of Jean Valjean, the hero of the wildly popular musical based on the novel Les Miserables. In Tom Hooper's film version of Les Mis, Wilkinson found himself stepping out of the Valjean role to play the Bishop. "The Bishop’s character in the musical was never fully explored because of the time element we had on stage — it’s the first 200 pages of the book, about the bishop and Valjean and their relationship," Wilkinson told Uinterview exclusively, while answering fan questions. "I thought he was really just a great character. Mostly, I was excited about getting to work with [Hugh] Jackman and [Anne] Hathaway, there were certainly great people in there."
Watching Jackman take the familiar role of Valjean, Wilkinson had a few sage words for his successor. “I just said, ‘Look, my advice to you is just do it your way,” he told Uinterview. “Don’t emulate me or copy me.”
Q: If you could play any other character in Les Misèrables, who would it be and why? - KennedyCarlson
Q: You've played Jean Valjean in Les Mis over the years. How did it feel being cast for the role of the Bishop in the movie? - HaleyHugo
It was obviously quite different. Obviously, when I heard that the movie was happening and I got the part of the Bishop, it was great. It was great to be part of the project. In regard to playing it, I was 50/50 about it initially to be quite honest. 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. The Bishop’s character in the musical was never fully explored because of the time element we had on stage — it’s the first 200 pages of the book, about the Bishop and Valjean and their relationship. I thought he was really just a great character. Mostly, I was excited about getting to work with Jackman and Hathaway, there were certainly great people in there. It was an attraction to me as well and a publicity get for me as well. I had a great experience on the movie. They were very gracious to me. Obviously, they knew who I was, the original Valjean. It was great to be part of that.
Q: What do you feel is the most important thing for Young actors/performers to know or understand? What did you wish you know before going in to the business - TysonDLund
Q: What was it like to figuratively "pass the torch" to Hugh Jackman? And then at the end to call Valjean home? - KevinPratt
Q: Was it difficult going into the movie playing a different part than you normally play in the show? What was it like being on the other side of Valjean's transformation (being the 'cause' rather than the one influenced)? - alexandriaevans
Q: I have admired your portrayal of Jean Valjean for years... You are my favorite one. How different was it for you playing the priest and working with and/or coaching Hugh Jackman to be Jean Valjean? - mwo627
Q: Out of your whole musical/acting career who did you enjoy portraying as the absolute most?
BTW Loved you as Val Jean! - AllanahMarieStaggs
Q: How did it feel to be a part of the screen adaptation of the musical that you brought to Broadway? What was it like working on the movie? - SarBear8
Q: I found the movie quite moving, and it must have been draining on many of the actors. How often did cast members not in scenes watch scenes being enacted just because of the drama and intensity of the story? - MarkOBudny
Q: Was it weird to see someone else besides yourself portray Jean Valjean? - sarahavatarfan
Q: What was it like playing the Priest, with Hugh Jackman as Jean val Jean, in this movie, after you played J.V. so many years ago? - TiffanyJenkins
Q: How did it feel getting to be apart of the Les Miserables movie after having made the role famous? - SariGutman
Q: What was it like watching Hugh Jackman play a character that you had previously been while you were playing another character in the same play? Did you have any words of wisdom for him? - AmyWald
Q: How did you feel coming back to something you were a part of almost 30 years ago and how well do you think Hugh Jackman did with the role you had back in 1985? - KendraLang
Q: What is the biggest piece of advice you could give to someone pursuing a career in acting whether it be film or stage? - JosephMcLaughlin
Q: How much fun was it to be a part of the movie and was it intentionally kept a secret you were going to play the priest? - RobynThompson
Q: You've performed the role of Valjean so many times over the years, what was your favorite cast/production and why? - MikeHoward
Q: You are my favourite broadway and West End actor. Did you anticipate when you took the role that it would blow up and become this big? - SariGutman
Q: What do you like best about Hugh Jackman's version of Valjean? And besides yourself, who has been your favorite actor to play Valjean? - TrishaUrvan
Q: Was it challenging to go from having been Jean Val Jean to a smaller part? - JackiePaxsonJackson
Q: How much different was it for you to shoot the movie from a stage production of Les Miserables? - JackiePaxsonJackson
It was very different. As I said, we get on stage, we get into character. You walk on stage to play this man and you start your emotional journey, and you start your journey musically and you set out on that journey for about a two and half hour period of time. When we were doing the movie, we sort of shot out of sequence. Hugh Jackman, when he walks towards the Bishop in the end, we jumped out of sequence. I think it’s very difficult to jump backward and forward emotionally. You have to get used to doing that. I would find that that is one huge difference. Another huge difference I found was, let’s say you are a theatrical person and in the theater they expect you to project even though that was never a part of what I did on stage. I always try to play with the characters around me; create what we created on stage, an emotional theme around which the audience can gravitate. A lot of people get out there and they sort of gravitate towards the audience instead of around the people on stage. I never found that an emotionally proper way to work. What I’m getting to is in a movie — the camera is your audience. You don’t have to project that much. You have to learn to discipline yourself in the process of defining, defining, defining all the time. Once the emotion shows in your face, the camera gets it, you don’t have to overdo it, which is actually something you learn in the theater as well. You have to be very, very real and aware and you have to make sure you do not overplay the part. That was a huge difference. You have to be very careful with that.
Q: You have tons of fans in Miami! You have had such an amazing career already, including two such iconic roles. What made you want to be involved in this film, in this capacity? - AnnieRoquesHernandez
Q: Colm I wanted to ask about what was your inspirations in becoming a performer and why did they inspire you. - CharlesHarcxsleEarly
Q: First off I would like to say, your Jean Val Jean was just outstanding. Over the years you have seen a lot of Val Jeans (Ramin and Alfi), and now Hugh Jackman's. What did you think about his performance? Was it weird to act with someone playing your role? Thank you so much for being such a huge inspiration to us classical style musical theatre actors! :) - MichaelFortino
Q: What was your feelings on them changing how the ending played out in the movie as opposed to how it is played out at the end of the stage show? - DaniaDewese
Q: What were your thoughts and feelings while seeing the charcater you once played, however, from a different perspetive? - fersierras
Q: Hi Colm! First of all, thanks for making me cry like a baby - as soon as you started singing as the Bishop, I started sobbing and couldn't stop until half an hour after the film was over. Anyways, still on the topic of the Bishop. What do you, as part of the original West End cast, think of Tom Hooper's decision to have the part in the Epilogue typically sung by Eponine sung by your character, the Bishop? - NinaDanielleWutrich
Q: Has the part of the Bishop or Jean Valjean directly affected your personal faith? - PaulSanchez
Well, playing a guy like the Bishop, he’s fictional, of course, but there are very few people like that around now. In the Catholic religion, there are some, but it’s hard to find someone with his humility and his generosity towards everybody around him. He’s just an amazing character. You look at people like that and you think, 'Do they actually exist in real life?' And the way you would describe him, he does exist and he did exist. I think a lot of people also forget that even if it is a fictional piece, the book, the actual historic period that he describes is very factual. [Victor Hugo] talks about the poverty, he talks about prostitution, he talks about all of that. It had a huge effect on him I’m sure. He wrote to a certain degree in honesty. In regard to it affecting my life, I’m sure it has had a direct effect on me because you always learn from characters. You always learn from characters like Valjean and overcoming all the adversity that he had, to become the man he became at the end. A great thing about the Bishop’s role also was that he always kept the candlesticks. I thought it was great to be the Bishop in the end when he dies and Valjean starts having this conversation with him, and instead of throwing them away, he keeps the candlesticks. He actually keeps the candlesticks as a reminder of this man, and this man’s goodness. He tries to live this life as the way this man wanted him to live, like a mentor. I think you look things like that and think, 'You know, what is the possibility that someone like that did exist, they actually do exist and it makes you think twice about life and twice about adversity.' As I said, it’s historically factual to life. It makes you think about the people in those days who suffered those kinds of indignities, and to actually be very grateful and very thankful for what you have. Love your life. That’s one of the things that came to me. Another thing about that musical, I got a lot of emails from people who were actually sort of galvanized by seeing that show who saw this is a great sort of inspirational theme and not only Valjean. For instance, the political things in the movie – that’s what happened in the streets at that time and it’s still happening today. What happened in the novel, the poverty and prostitution that clearly still exist in life but in a different way. Things have not changed that much. It’s just presented differently now.
Q: Colm, I loved your performance as Valjean and your role as the Bishop in the film. I want to speak on behalf of myself that it is my dream to be on the stage and I hope one day I can be a part of this outstanding musical. My question for you is can you share with me some of your tips on how your voice was trained? - MatthewStewart
Q: How did your perspective of the character of Jean Valjean change once you had the opportunity to play the man who essentially gave him his life, the Bishop of Digne? Was this an emotional experience for you? - KatherineMatisse
Q: How has play the Bishop role affect your daily lives? - YishuDai
Q: What was the first thing that came to your mind when you heard about the new Les Miserables film? And what was your feeling when you was offered the rule of the bishop? - AhmedSaiedAboElela
Q: Normally in the finale, Valjean, Fantine, and Eponine sing the trio that sings "to love another person is to see the face of God", but you sang it with Valjean and Fantine in the movie. As an avid Les Mis fan, I thought maybe it was a tribute to the fact that you had played the role of Valjean when the musical originally was released and so many times after that. I thought it made the finale extra special. Why was this choice made and were you happy that it was made? - kestewart28
Q: When you first read the script for Les Mis, did you ever think that you would be the person who brought tears to the eyes of true fans at the finale of a brilliant movie and how did you feel seeing Hugh Jackman looking back at you at the moment of his death? - JaciDaCosta
Q: Was it dificult to bring your chacater to life when he only showed up a couple of times in the whole movie? - GraceBagby
Q: Considering all the amazing actors who have followed you in portraying the character of Jean Valjean, which do you believe has been the most influential in the development of the character from it's original portrayal to the style generally used on stage today? - JamesTarkasis
Q: First of all, I must say I absolutely love your voice, it's incredibly beautiful and I have listened to it quite a lot of the original cast soundtrack.
From what I've heard you did a few things differently in order to create Valjean, such as a going higher in Bring Him Home, what other things did you do to make Jean Valjean the character he is perceived as today? - georgiepotplant
Q: Mr. Wilkinson,
How did you possibly make the choice of playing Jean Valjean in Les Misérables over the titular role in The Phantom of the Opera? How do you think your life would be different if you had decided to again work with Baron Lloyd-Webber? - katharinereilly916
Q: Did you love the singing as much as me? Were'nt you as happy as I that Anne Hathaway got an academy award? She did so well that I cried during her song. Was she so nice? - AngelHolsten
Q: As the original Jean Valjean, I suspect Hugh Jackman would have wanted some guidance on how to approach it.
What did you tell him? :) - georgiepotplant
Q: What was your initial reaction when they asked if you'd come back to Les Miserables, this time to play The Bishop? - MaryRoseWinnard
Q: How did it feel going from playing Valjean on broadway to playing the bishop in the movie? - LaceyMiller
Q: Who is your favourite character of Les Miserables? - AnnaBurbano
Q: Was it strange to learn the part of Bishop Myriel after being Jean Valjean for many years? - JoanneMercer
Q: While Filming Scenes with Hugh Jackman did you ever find yourself Judging his performance, or comparing his version of Jean Val Jean to your version? - SylviaDeinesBoykin
Q: What was one of your favorite parts of Les Miserables? What is some advice for aspiring actors? - EmilyBlackburn
Q: Greetings Colm Wilkinson:
Are you glad to be in Les Mis Movie ?? My Mom saw you in the UK as Valjean, we plan to buy DVD March 22, 20133, here in USA. Happy (Belated) St. Patrick's Day to you & 'cheers', as the Irish would say. From your US Fan,
JoAnnA Foris - JoannaForis
Q: What was it like for you, who originated the role of Jean Valjean in the English version of Les Miserables, to witness all of the changes in Les Miserables throughout the years? - xxbroadwaygalxx
Q: Do you have any advice for people who would like to pursue music theatre?
What is your fondest memory from a show? - KeannaIrving
Q: Being one of the original cast members of Les Misérables, what is your first memory of the show? What drew you to the part of Jean Valjean the way it was depicted in the script? - Maj
Q: I know this is rather strange to ask, but my biological grandfather was abusive to my sweet mom, and when I first saw Les Miserables (the 10th Anniversary) when I was in 3rd grade about 8 years ago, I saw you playing Jean Valjean and I turned to my mom and asked her "Can he be my Grandfather? And can he be Jean Valjean to you?" she told me that I could pretend that you were and that she wished it were true because it would be so cool! And I was just wondering if it would be okay with you if I could continue with that 'dream that I dreamed.'
Hayley R. - HayleyRenick
Q: Do you consider Les Misérables to be your favorite musical that you worked on? If so why, and if not what would it be and why. - ThomasWilliamson
Q: Could you give some insight into why only Fantine comes to summon Val Jean in the final scene of the new Les Miserables movie? Since you were joined by both Fantine AND Eponine in the final scene you so brilliantly played on stage for so many years, I thought you may have the inside track to that answer. Thank you! - JudsonRidgway
Q: You have been with Les Mis pretty much from the beginning all the way through this beautiful movie; how does it feel to be forever associated with such an iconic musical? - JenniferSeitzPalos
Q: Not considering gender as a restriction, what role in Les Miserables would you like to have played? Why does that role seem so enticing to you? - MichelleParkerCurtis
Well obviously, the role that I did play. That’s a great role. That’s the best role that I’ve ever played in my life, because it was a huge thing. It was a huge journey, a spiritual journey, a sort of redemption, and to be part of it, like in the book. You know, I would love for them to have actually featured the character of the Bishop a lot more in the musical. He plays such a huge part in Valjean’s life, in redeeming him and putting him on the right path. If you read the book, and read the first 150 or 200 — it’s just incredible, these are incredible characters and I also wondered why they didn’t spend more time on him. But out of all the characters, I would still pick Valjean as the character that I would play.
Q: Because you originated the role of Valjean, do you feel like a father to the musical as you've been a part of its journey from workshop to screen and how has this journey been for you? - BeccaRodgersWitherow
Q: I so loved you as Valjean. As the movie was being promoted, I thought of you. I was thrilled beyond words that you were the bishop. When the ptb came to you with this part what went through your mind?
A huge fan
Janis Lang Johnson - JanisLangJohnson
Q: Hi colm I am cassie I am 13 years old and I am obsessed with the play/ movie. This question might get asked alot but what inspired you to write Les Miserables?? I want to know because one day I want a play with classical singing and everything like that!! But really I mean what was going through your mind when thinking of this huge idea for it like I know your a spectacular writer and bishop from the movie but, please consider looking at my question it would really be a dream come true !;) thanks colm of you see this like only you would make my day shine my email is Cassie.firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions!!!;))):):):) - CassieFedora
Q: What's it like being part of "Les Miz" the film 28 years after being part of the original Broadway cast? - AlyssaBlack
Q: What has it been like to play the great voices of the two greatest Male roles in the musical world. Jean Valjean and The Phantom? - PandaCatCinema
Q: Hello Mr. Colm,
You have been in many productions of this fabulous show and have originated Jean Val Jean in both London and Broadway, in what ways was performing in the movie the same as on stage? What was it like seeing Hugh Jackman perform as Jean and yourself as the Bishop?
Thank you for your time! - ErinRitson
Q: Colm, will you ever tour to Australia? Would love to see you live! - cinder
Q: What was your favorite "funny moment" while on set? - tomarianne
Q: Hi Colm! After having heard you on the various recordings of Les Miserables over the years, it was a great pleasure to see you in the film. Thank you so much for all you have done with the show throughout the years, which has meant a lot to me. What one question would you like to be asked that you've never been asked before, and what is the answer to it? - JakeLipson
Q: With your voice range/gender/age set aside, what other role in Les Miserables would you choose to be? - IeseWilson
Q: Were there any specific pointers you gave Hugh about being Val Jean? - ShelbyAnne
Oh, yeah. I have to say that I gave him quite the advice continuously. 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. Hugh Jackman did about 10 or 12 takes. But sometimes it was brutal kind of work, we were in all sorts of strange conditions, in the cold, in damp locations. I was just absolutely blown away with the work ethic, not only of Hugh Jackman but everybody and the way they applied themselves. I think they had a huge respect for which I was delighted. They had a huge respect for the book and the musical, and a lot of these people had grown up with the musical, they had a huge respect for the musical. They applied themselves in a wonderful way. It was great to see. They didn’t take anything for granted. They worked so hard at what they did, it’s incredible.
Q: Did you ask to be in the film version, audition, or did the writers contact you? - ShelbyAnne
Q: From being in both the show and the movie and seeing how audiences and fans react, what about Les Miserables do you think is the reason that people fall in love with it and keeps them coming back for more? - MaryClaireZurowski
Q: Will you be on tour in the US anytime soon...we all love you here? - CherieONeilMarsh
Q: There must be a million answers to this, but what was a) your favorite part of being in the movie version, b) your initial thoughts on the movie idea, and c) the major difference between the Broadway version and movie version, in your opinion? - ShelbyAnne
Q: Do you think you are a similar person to Jean Valjean, or is there another character in Les Miserables that you think you are more similar to or relate more to? - MaryClaireZurowski
Q: What is one of your favorite memories from being in Les Miserables, whether it be during rehearsals for the show, performances, anniversary concerts, filming the movie, etc. - MaryClaireZurowski
Q: You have been the face of Jean Val Jean for so long. Do you think your time as Val Jean helped contribute to your role as the Bishop? Like all that time as Val Jean showed you what he needed from the Bishop at that point in his life? - WhitneyBrechner
How has playing the role of Jean Valjean affected your personal life? The story is so full of the strong themes of forgiveness and redemption, has that changed the way you view life, God, or the relationships that you have with others? - KosetteIsakson
Q: I saw you when you performed on Broadway and loved you in the part. It's one of my 2 all time favorite plays and to me you were the best to ever do Jean Valjean on Broadway. Do you wish you where young enough to have played the character again for the movie and what did you really thing of Hugh Jackman in the role? - JessieMargarita
Q: What was your favorite Les Miserable moment from your very first performance to right now? - ReneeBryan
Q: I have been a huge fan since I was a little girl. Almost 25 years since the first time I heard you as Valjean, your voice is every bit if not more amazing. Do you have any special exercises or techniques you use to help protect your voice? - TaraHughesWoody
Q: I have read that Cameron Mackintosh refused to open Les Mis in New York unless you were cast as Valjean. What was it like to know that he fought so hard for you when there were probably so many other men that would have loved to have the part? - WhitneyBrechner
Q: What's it like to come full-circle? You played Jean Valjean first. Now the priest. So interesting. - AbbiMcDaniel
Q: What was your reaction when you heard Les Misérables was being made into a movie? Were you apprehensive, overjoyed, overwhelmed? - AustinBlake
Q: And how did you wind up with the role of the Bishop of Digne? Did you go to Tom or did Tom come to you? - AustinBlake
Q: Mr Wilkinson how did it feel to be literally passing on the torch ( the candles) to the new adaptation of Jean Valjean ( Hugh Jackman)? - PedroJrTrejo
Q: I would like to know how you felt your character viewed Javert. Was he a relentless bully, in your eyes, or a man of conviction who believed he was doing the right thing in his tireless pursuit of 24601? - BlondeSeashell
Well, obviously that he is following his conviction. The way that Hugh Jackman actually got, initially got into that gaunt, physically deteriorated stage, hair cropped, scars on his head, actually got himself to that stage, his acting, his character, it was totally believable that Javert would never ever know him. But at the same time, that was the first time I ever saw the portrayal as believable, in any movie. So I think he did an incredible job of being the character to what it was in the beginning. In regard to Javert, he recognized what Valjean was, he was totally obsessed with what he had to do and the laws of the land, speaking strictly of the law and that’s what he carried. I understood speaking in character that this man was doing his job. He does not hate him [Valjean], because then he releases him. Javert couldn’t understand that he had him, he could’ve killed him, lived a free life, but he actually released him and he can’t take that, that’s why he commits suicide. There are two ways of looking at that. He committed suicide to free Valjean from him and he also commits suicide because he cannot take that Valjean actually led him there.
Q: It has been said that the focus of the movie/musical was due in large part to your involvement, having played in the stage production. How did you view your role in the movie version, and did your performance in the stage version change anything? - JosephNovak
Q: Adaptations across mediums always seem to generate a lot of discussion regarding changes. In your opinion, as someone with such iconic involvement with the stage show and now the film, did you feel there was anything added or improved upon in the film that just couldn't be pulled off onstage? Conversely, was there anything that was missed or just lost its magic in the transition to the screen? - JGH
You know what I felt? My wife pointed it out, a very intelligent woman, I found that because of my association with the musical over the years, playing the character, reading the book so many times, I found it difficult to be objective. I actually have to go back and see it again. I never saw it in any of the openings because I was busy working, but I had to go back and see it again because I felt it was too close. But I felt Anne Hathaway, where they placed Fantine’s song, it was very clever emotionally, because in the actual musical it happens after she sings. In the movie, it happens after she has become a prostitute. She’s got her hair shorn and she’s devastated by life. I thought that was very poignant and powerful to put that song right there because the story and the sound just fit perfectly right there. The sound right there is perfect. A huge thing for me was just the actual stage show. I think you could take it in. I think they are two different things, I mean the stage show is what it is. You see the whole thing being played out. In a movie you see it closer, the characters are much more intimate. There is much more intimacy and that’s a different experience. I would have to see the movie, I think, a couple of more times. I’m into the story being told in a certain way and it’s told differently in the movie. But overall, I think Tom Hooper did a great job with the movie, given that trying to adapt music to film or to the screen is a very difficult process. Especially because when people go the movies, they come with a different mindset. They are looking at a screen and they expect the actors to talk, they don’t expect you to start singing. People are not used to watching a screen and have you start singing like in opera. It’s difficult. But I think that we did that very well and it became quite believable after a while that these people would be singing about their situation rather than speaking.
Q: How was the transition from being the first Valjean to becoming the Bishop in the movie? - NateDickey
Q: How dificult was it to bring your character to life when he only showed up a couple of times in the movie? - GraceBagby
Q: Like many others who have been huge fans of yours over the years (I am a HUGE fan), I consider you the expert on all things Jean Valjean! When you were asked to be a part of the movie version, I am sure your input was invaluable. What words of advice did you have for Hugh Jackman in bringing his version of the role to life? - KimGreenfieldLeon
Q: My favorite part of the recent movie was seeing you bring Jean Val Jean into Heaven. It just seemed so perfect to see the man who made 'Les Miserables' the greatest musical on Broadway welcome the new Jean Val Jean to Heaven in the movie. Your contribution to 'Les Miserables' will always be recognized as the reason for the success of this musical. Thank you for your voice and great performance. I will always remember the emotion I felt when I attend your performance on Broadway. But I believe watching both you and Hugh Jackman on the screen was also a magical moment for me. - SusanRoach
Q: I bet you're going to get this a lot, but any plans for musicals in the nearby future? - The0R4NG3
Q: I can't sing to save my life and yet it's all I love to do! Any tips for achieving an actual singing ability? - The0R4NG3
Q: I hear word that you're associated with the 'Sassycolm' blog. Were you aware of how much of the internet truly loves you? - The0R4NG3
Q: Given the prominence of your stint as Valjean, something tells me that you personally might have received candlesticks as a gift - several times. Now that you have played the Bishop do you think it might give you the opportunity to regift some of those bloody things?. - JosephLauzon
Q: Greetings, Mr. Wilkinson! I am finally reading "The Brick" a.k.a. the "Les Miserables" novel and have been so impressed by the content of M. Myriel's character that I almost admire him more than Jean Valjean! Having played both characters in the musical adaptation, which character do you find most inspirational to you personally, and are there any other characters from the novel and/or musical adaptation that speak to you? Thank you for your time and for bringing two inspiring and motivational characters to life over the years! - KenseyMarie
Q: I saw you perform the role of Jean Valjean in New York back in 1990. That is where I fell in love with Mes Miserables .What is it like to play the Priest vs Jean Valjean? - KyleKimura
Q: What was your favorite song to sing? - HannahSyms
Q: Hey Colm, I'm an amateur performer aspiring to become a professional. I loved you as both Jean Valjean in the 10th Anniversary Concert and the Bishop in the movie of "Les Miserables." After listening to Hugh Jackman talk about how you mentored him during the making of the film, I began to think of you as someone to look up to. My questions are how did you get your professional career started and what advice would you give to someone else aiming to head down the same path? - SamHargreaves
Q: The story of Les Miserables is so powerfully moving, especially in the area of faith. Did becoming the character of Jean Valjean and getting so close to the story ever have an impact on your own personal life and beliefs? - kirstinstopper
Q: What did you feel like before your first performance of Les Miserables? - avacarmene
Q: How long did you play Jean Valjean? - avacarmene
Q: How much do you and Jean Valjean have in common? - avacarmene
Q: Which character from Les Miserables would you want to be friends with the most in real life? - avacarmene
Q: Now that you have finished this amazing film, will you continue to tour? I have seen you twice, and now my daughter is a huge fan as well, and I would love to give her the chance to see you perform live! - MaryGartland
Q: I had the honor of going to your performance of Jean Valjean in Toronto in 1998 of Les Miserables. It seemed that when you sang "Bring Him Home," that was favorite moment from the show, from an actor's perspective. Is that true? Or is there another moment? - KimMarko
Q: Hi Colm, many amzaing stars had been performed as "Valjean" in Broadway ,Queen Theatre and Broadway. You are an amazing "Valjean". But apart from youself ,including Hugh Jackman, which one do you think is the best Valjean ? - yingyeelo624
Q: After having seen the show 17 times, the film 2 times, own the Anniversary videos, and purchasing the DVD Friday, we still consider Colm as the REAL Jean Val Jean. There is just something in the timbre of his voice, sort of a catch that grabs your heart and doesn't let go and makes you " feel". Question for Colm - does he watch, listen and critique those who have inherited the role? I realize that actors wants to interpret a role to make it their own, but when one actor is perfection, how can it be revised? Also, what was his impression of the film's portrayals of the Thernardiers as less amusing and Russell Crowe more relying on acting than singing? - DianneFuzek
Q: There has been controversy over the differences between the stage and screen versions. I love both, but wonder how you feel having experienced both styles. - jessied44
Q: Hello Colm, my question is this; Amongst all of your successful musical roles, if you are able to live for a year in any of their shoes, which character would you choose and why? - JenniferSarahHemingway
Q: No question, just a comment. Your voice is so beautiful it makes me weep. You are the ULTIMATE Jean Valjean. Blessings to you and thank you!!! - SallyEastwood
Q: Mr. Wilkinson, I must begin by saying that I think you are a gifted actor and a phenomenal singer. You never fail to move me with your talent!
Were you surprised to be included in the new film, and in such a moving fashion? Was it odd to be featured in the show and NOT play Jean Valjean? - SparklingDiamond
Q: How long did you stay with the Broadway production of "Les Mis"? - hunterhuiet
Q: Which character in Les Mis" is your favourite? - yingyeelo624
Q: I would like to know what it meant to you to be selected to be a part of the movie? I, for one, was thrilled to see you there. It was a fitting tribute to the man who is, and always will be, Jean Valjean. I just wish you could have had a larger role, but you were fabulous. - LoriMihalick
Q: Hello, Colm!
First off, I'd like to say you were great as Jean Valjean during your Les Mis run. Which leads me to ask, what did you think of Hugh Jackman's Valjean? What was it like playing the bishop?
Sarah :) - thatweirdvintagegirl
Q: How did you feel when you heard Les Miserables was going to be made into a film? - jondrettegirl
Q: The Bishop has a very interesting personality in the book by Victor Hugo. How did you go about approaching that and what did you make of his sense of humor, as well as his compassion? Do you think that his lifestyle before he became a clergyman had some influence on the way he treated Valjean? - MadisonLee
Q: I saw you performing "Hallelujah". It could be a strange question, but do you know the author on this song - Leonard Cohen? - FilipSzyga
Q: Hi Colm! I saw on the bonus features of the newest Les Mis movie that you said since you were the first Valjean, you were able to change things and make the role your own without anyone knowing any different, and that you encouraged Hugh Jackman to make the role his own also. I was just curious, what things you changed from how they were originally supposed to be? Thanks!
Whitney - WhitneyBrechner
Q: Hi Colm! Each time you sing songs from Les Mis, they sound just as powerful and fresh as they did 25 years ago -- usually even more so. How do you maintain that emotional connection with songs like 'Bring Him Home' after performing them so many times? How has your interpretation of Valjean (or Les Mis in general) changed since you first joined the show? - oksy
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