Today Deadline brought us the news that Rob Thomas, creator of beloved cult TV shows Veronica Mars and Party Down, has sold Fox a script for an adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, retold as a modern-day legal procedural. I'll give you a few seconds to reread that sentence as many times as it takes for all those highly incongruous details to sink in.
The contemporary take is a primetime soap about a brilliant lawyer running a legal exoneration program who fights to evade the consequences of his own unjust conviction many years before. He must navigate high society, continue his mission of saving innocent people, and manage his tumultuous family and romantic life — all while staying one step ahead of a ruthless U.S. Attorney who refuses to let the ghosts of the past die.
This news reminded me of a few of my own long-abandoned pilot scripts that I'm starting to wonder if Fox might be interested in.
1. The Barden Bellas ft. The Treblemakers, "Riff Off: Mickey/Like A Virgin/Hit Me With Your Best Shot/S&M/Let's Talk About Sex/I'll Make Love To You/Feels Like The First Time/No Diggity" (Pitch Perfect)
Pitch Perfect, Kay Cannon's comedy about college a cappella groups, has quickly established itself as a cult hit worthy of sitting alongside slumber party classics like Bring It On, Empire Records, and Grease. Personally, even the best a capella rendition of a song just makes me want to listen to the actual song. Of the various medleys and covers in Pitch Perfect, the sex song medley from the "Riff Off" sequence is the clear standout. And let's all just agree to put Rebel Wilson in everything from now on, OK?
Best YouTube Comment: "idk about anyone, but I got really excited when Ester Dean (Cynthia Rose) sang S&M…considering it's her song that she wrote for Rihanna" — Kaylaa1DAllstar
First off, just want to make sure this is 100 percent clear: Despite the fixation on backbreaking manual labor, the above video comes to us via South Korea, not its northern, MJ-loving counterpart.
Now, on to the video: You know last summer when you were watching the second European trailer for Les MisÚrables on YouTube, and once it finished you noticed something in the related videos column called "HILARIOUS 'Call Me Maybe' Parody — OMG Must Watch!!" and, feeling particularly complacent that day, you decided to click on it? And after about 15 seconds into the extremely earnest acoustic cover of Carly Rae Jepsen's timeless classic, you realized two things: (1) This is neither a parody, nor hilarious, and (2) this is better than the original, so hating is not really an option? This is how you will feel when you watch "Les Militaribles," this Les MisÚrables "parody" done by the South Korean Air Force and realize that they have a better Javert than we do.
We here at Hollywood Prospectus will be weighing in on the wondrously gallant pageantry that was Sunday night's Golden Globes — The dresses! The speeches! The prop teeth! The fake drunkenness! The real drunkenness! — a bit more in depth later in the day. But for now, we're just gonna kick it American style, and only focus on the winners.
And so everyone bow down before Argo, whose depiction of Hollywood as a powerful tool for world-changing, life-saving good was somehow, some way, embraced by a bunch of people in Hollywood; Homeland, which went back-to-back on a sweep of the major TV drama categories despite, ah, you know maybe not being as good this season; Girls, whose wins thoroughly justified Lena Dunham's decision to stop at that Kinko's before the show; Les Misérables, whose big night continued to make a nation of people feel very strongly about Anne Hathaway, one way or the other; and Chad Lowe, who made the wise decision not to use his sudden Twitter fame as an excuse for perpetrating child negligence.
I realize that I'm unqualified to do what I'm about to do, which is to talk about the musical and cinematic bludgeon that is Les Misérables without having ever seen the actual show, and without ever having listened to the soundtrack. I'm also apparently one of only 13 Americans who did not appear in a production of the original musical while I was in high school, and we’re dying off fast.
(Let me also say that I enjoyed the film, even though I'll never watch another Tom Hooper movie until I'm guaranteed by the producers that his damned camera has been riveted to the floor. For sheer directorial busy-work, Hooper makes Tarantino look like he’s working in Super-8. You get more consistent photographic angles from the Hubble Space Telescope.)
Nevertheless, I rise today in defense of the Pub Voice. This is because the Pub Voice is taking quite a beating these days, most notably at the Browne-Yoshida cyber malt shoppe here last week. The Pub Voice is something we all have. Even actual singers have it. The difference between actual singers and, well, me, is that they have other voices besides the Pub Voice. I have the Pub Voice and nothing else. The only song I've ever sung in any karaoke context is “Mississippi Queen” (if you know what I mean). There are three basic kinds of Pub Voice — loud, louder, and Would You Like to Step Outside? I have all three, as well as a fourth variation that I've kept under wraps since my undergraduate days because, when it's unleashed, it generally results in my having to walk home in the snow.
On Christmas Day, in the year of our Lord 2012, Tom Hooper's film adaptation of the Broadway musical Les MisÚrables arrives in cinemas across the nation. Grantland staffers Rembert Browne and Emily Yoshida chose to open their presents early this year, and have already seen it in special Hollywood-type screenings. You may think that is unfair, but they love Les MisÚrables more than you do. Here's what they thought of the movie:
Rembert Browne: The only appropriate way for both of us to start our discussion of Les MisÚrables the film, is to begin with disclaimers. Mine: I have seen many musicals, am a fan of musicals, participated in musicals, and Les Mis is my favorite of all time. By a landslide. Another disclaimer: After performing the musical in 10th grade, not a single word has left this surprisingly not-steel-trap of a brain I am host to. Final disclaimer: Emotion is a thing I feel. A lot.
OK, your turn, Yoshida. Feel free to make me look less like a freak.
Emily Yoshida: OK, here goes. My lifelong love affair with Les MisÚrables started in 1995 when PBS aired the 10th Anniversary Concert on Great Performances during a pledge drive. Now, this may shock you, Rem, but I was kind of a big musical theater fan around that time. Still, my love of Les Mis is the only part of that I will openly, publicly admit to, if only because it feels actually really important and relevant to who I am now as a person. I wish that were a hyperbolic statement, but I don't think it is.
Nothing says Christmas like slaves and whores! Anne Hathaway and Samuel L. Jackson enter the ring for a very NSFW Sad-Off over cocoa and gingerbread while they deck the halls. If you’re still at work, now might be a good time to lug your desktop into the bathroom and plug it in under the sink, because I think this ISFP (is safe for potty). How can you top the sad factor of Les Mis, “the miserable”? Well, slavery’s a good place to start. Plus, the star of Jackson’s movie "had his own sitcom on the WB.” And Hathaway was only a Disney princess because she had long hair; in Les Mis all of that gets chopped off “with a knife” (but Jackson “hasn’t had hair since Unbreakable”). Hathaway might not be able to handle being a black man in the South in the 1800s (or ever), but “When there’s a French whore in the White House, then we can talk.” Then again, though Fantine loses her job, “everybody in [Jackson’s] film has job security, because they’re slaves.” Jackson illustrates this with marshmallows and licorice. Oh, so now it’s a slave house? If Hathaway had known, she “would have made whore town.” Someone, quick, throw together a movie featuring slaves with tuberculosis shaving cancer-stricken puppies, hoping to sell the fur to buy instant oatmeal for their families! The Sad-Off championship title can be yours!
The hometown nostalgia survived longer than the turkey hangover on the Hollywood Prospectus podcast. To kick off the holiday movie season, Chris Ryan and I invited fellow Philadelphian (and Grantland's resident Cinemetrician) Zach Baron to talk about one of the best films of the year, Silver Linings Playbook (2:50). We three former Friends School League rivals dug deep into why SLP is a sports movie for non-sports fans, why its optimism matters (particularly for Eagles supporters), and why we loved it for reasons beyond its inclusion of the Llanerch Diner (try the snapper soup!) and Jennifer Lawrence in spandex. Lest the gushing cause the Schuykill River to flood, we also talked a bit about the rest of the big releases coming in December, including Killing Them Softly, The Hobbit, Zero Dark Thirty, and the inevitable juggernaut that is Les Misérables.
Silver: This is almost unbelievable. World War Z is a $100 million-plus major studio summer tentpole staring one of the world's biggest stars, and there isn’t a single original or unique moment in its first trailer. The drama around the release date delay and extensive reshoots aside, this film appears to be a greatest-hits version of Roland Emmerich’s filmography:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — Trailer no. 2 (December 14)
Silver: My geekdom regarding the Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit films was quite well-documented when I gratuitously picked apart the first trailer back in December, so stating my overwhelming excitement for An Unexpected Journey is unnecessary. I will say this, though: My one concern about The Hobbit now seems to be dissipating. In the first three LOTR films, Frodo, Sam, Aragorn, Gandalf, and the rest of The Fellowship were battling to save their world, but The Hobbit, as written, doesn't contain the same lofty stakes. Although it takes place in Middle Earth and contains some of the same characters of LOTR, The Hobbit is a much simpler and more straightforward adventure tale. So my unease with The Hobbit was, put simply: How was Peter Jackson going to transfer the dramatic weight from LOTR to The Hobbit? His solution was hinted at in December’s teaser trailer, but is established much more clearly here. By sprinkling in Tolkien’s appendices, The Hobbit will act as a direct lead-up to the events of LOTR. It’ll be a ... dare I say ... prequel trilogy (gulp). I have faith in Peter Jackson that his prequel will be something more than the toy commercial George Lucas put together. And if all else fails, at least we get Ian McKellen as Gandalf for three more films.
Silver: For as good as the Bourne films are, they inexplicably always seem to get lost in the shuffle of summer movie marketing. So I was treating The Bourne Legacy just like I did the previous three, as a film that was just going to magically appear to be the perfect late-summer, high-quality digestif after a long summer of gorging on sugary and fatty cinematic fair.
Until now. I just circled August 3 on my calendar in red marker.
A Jackie Robinson movie is in development at Legendary Pictures, with Chadwick Boseman playing the man himself; Harrison Ford playing Branch Rickey, the Dodgers exec that signed Robinson; and Brian Helgeland, who wrote L.A. Confidential and Mystic River, writing and directing. This is a big break for Boseman, who was previously best known for a bunch of TV cameos and the football movie The Express. It also should do wonders for Ford, who is still, sadly, best known, of course, for marrying Ally McBeal. Grade: A- [Deadline]
Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese, and Terence Winter are collaborating on an HBO series about a cocaine-using record executive in New York in 1977. Jagger, who hatched the idea originally as a film project, will produce; Scorsese will produce as well as direct the pilot, for which Winter has written the script. Sounds great! Definitely the best idea Jagger has had since “Start Me Up.” Grade: A [HR]
Russell Crowe has officially joined the Les MisÚrables movie, playing Javert opposite Hugh Jackman, who’s starring as Jean Valjean. The King’s Speech's Tom Hooper is directing and William Nicholson wrote the screenplay. Safe to say this is the best thing that’s happened to him this year, after that time he hung out with Kanye and Jay-Z in Australia, of course. Grade: A- [Deadline]
HBO has given Aaron Sorkin’s cable-news drama — currently untitled, though formerly known as More As the Story Develops — a series pickup. Jeff Daniels stars as the possibly Keith Olbermann-y anchor; Emily Mortimer, Alison Pill, Olivia Munn, Dev Patel, and Sam Waterston are somehow all in this as well. Following Sports Night and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, this will be Sorkin’s third TV show about a TV show. Why don't Sorkin and TV shows about TV shows get a freakin’ room already? Grade: A [HR]