Apparently Tom Hooper doesn't see much of a difference between folks from Australia and New Zealand and folks from France. Following the signing of Hugh Jackman to play Jean Valjean in the King's Speech director's adaptation of Les Miserables in June, it is now being reported that Russell Crowe has been cast as Javert, the cop on the hero's tail.

Set to go into production later this year - which, in turn, was part of the reason behind the Wolverine delay - Deadline reports that Universal has also given the film a December 7, 2012 release date. The move packs the picture in with a lot of competition. While no movie is yet set to be released on the same day, both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Great Hope Springs will be released on December 14, 2012.

Unlike the 1998 adaptation from director Bille August, which was an adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel, Hooper's film will be bringing the Broadway musical, written by Claude-Michel Schönberg, to the silver screen. It was originally rumored that Paul Bettany would be playing the role of Javert, but the new article makes no mention of it. Crowe has been fairly busy as of late, as he is set to star with Mark Wahlberg in Allen Hughes' Broken City; play Superman's biological father in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel; and appear alongside The RZA in the kung-fu epic The Man with the Iron Fists.

If you're wondering if Crowe has the singing voice for the part, the answer is yes. Back in the 1980s he actually wrote and performed a song called "I Want To Be Like Marlon Brando" (which is ironic considering he's now going to play Jor-El in Superman) and has formed two Australian rock bands, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts and The Ordinary Fear of God. That said, his voice has also been known to drive tugboats to suicide, so who the hell knows.

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