'King's Speech' Director Feelin' 'Les Miserables'

[caption id="attachment_41500" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Les Miserables"][/caption]

Tom Hooper hears the people sing, singing the songs of happy studio executives.

The Oscar-winning director of this year's Best Picture, "The King's Speech," has all but signed on the dotted line to tackle a movie adaptation of the wildly successful stage musical "Les Miserables," Deadline reports. This will be the first movie Hooper will helm in the wake of his big win.

Such a task may be as epic as the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo the musical is based on. We're talkin' theatrical royalty here -- the weeper of a show is the third longest-running musical on Broadway.

The show tells the story of French convict Jean Valjean, who is imprisoned 19 years after stealing a loaf of bread for his sister's son. After being released, Valjean goes on the run from his parole officers, restarting his life as a noble man. Throughout the book and play, Valjean encounters a host of characters, some who help him become a better man, some who look to expose the truth and send him back to jail.

Since the '30,s the book has been adapted countless times, in the form of everything from silent pictures to TV movies to your standard Hollywood drama. Most recently, studios brought the tale to life with a star-loaded cast, including Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Claire Danes and Uma Thurman -- but Hooper's version will be the first to realize the musical version in cinematic form.

Bringing the sprawling epic is a sizable challenge, even for a skilled director and crafty studio marketing team. The play is nearly three hours long and isn't the kind of showstopper musical that sells easily, like "Mamma Mia" or the upcoming "Rock of Ages." "Les Miserables" is essentially an opera and Hooper may have to slice and dice the show to cut down on time and turn songs into dialogue for mass audiences sake.

That said, "Les Miserables" has a fan base and Universal, the company behind the film, may not have too much trouble releasing this one into the wild. Hooper may end up having free reign with "Les Miserables" and if that's the case, the project couldn't be in better hands.