Tom Hooper won an Oscar for directing The King’s Speech, but in terms of the big screen he’s still a relative newcomer. So his follow-up has the added pressure of Hooper having been knighted a great director. He’s tackling a challenging one, as Deadline Hollywood is reporting that he’s now up to bring Les Miserables to the big screen for Universal Pictures. Les Miz is now the longest running play in Broadway history, having been going for twenty-six years since its English-language debut in 1985.

Right now, Hooper’s still an unknown entity in terms of film making. The King’s Speech was a huge success for everyone involved, but previous to that he was best known for the TV miniseries “John Adams.” Hooper cut his teeth in television, where often the writers are more important than the director. The King’s Speech was well positioned by The Weinstein Company, but it’s a modest picture – the sort that usually become remembered as an Oscar winner more than as a great movie.

Hooper has clout now as The King’s Speech was really successful, and Les Miserables is a bold choice. Frankly it’s a little shocking that it hasn’t already made it to the big screen. Other directors have tried, with Alan Parker and Bruce Beresford attached at one point or another. It’s unknown if they were unable to crack it, or if the tricky business of financing a musical in the modern era did them in.We’ve seen films like this really hit (Chicago, Dreamgirls) and really miss (The Producers, Nine).

This is the sort of film that screams Oscar bait, and Hooper may see himself as prestige director. Rob Marshall pursued that after Chicago, and is now directing a Pirates of the Caribbean film.

Are you excited for a movie version of Les Miserables?