Before you ask: no, this wasn’t the secret film at the Butt-Numb-a-Thon this year. I just was lucky enough to be in the room with an Oscar screener during my recent travels.
The gigantic Victor Hugo book Les Miserables has had a long history of adaptation. Aside from the massively popular musical/opera that has been filling theaters since 1980, a film adaptation seems to crop up every couple of decades or so. This time, the musical itself has been turned into a film, which should be hitting theaters a week from now, on Christmas Day.
The opera, like the book, is a daunting project to adapt. The theater spectacle is a massive endeavor involving a large ensemble cast, 50 songs, a rotating stage, and something like 4 hours of runtime. The storyline covers several decades of French history. Performers are required to have tremendous talent both as actors and as vocalists.