Tom Hooper could direct Les Miserables musical, could have directed ‘Iron Man 3’


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EXCLUSIVE: Of all the filmmakers to see their stock boosted this Oscar season, none has enjoyed the Google-like jump of Tom Hooper. Like any director with an Oscar nomination and a $100-million hit on his hands, ‘The King’s Speech’ helmer has been wooed by numerous studios in town.

Perhaps the most interesting offer that we’ve heard about? It comes from Marvel and involves some shiny gizmos. According to a person who has worked closely with Hooper but who asked not to be identified because the director did not authorize this person to speak on his behalf, the Brit was offered the director’s chair on ‘Iron Man 3,’ the latest installment in the Robert Downey Jr. franchise. He turned it down, and ‘Lethal Weapon’ writer Shane Black wound up landing the job several weeks ago.


While Hooper won’t be steering Stark Industries, another person who has worked closely with him said he was weighing an offer to direct ‘Les Miserables,’ a new version of the classic novel and Broadway musical set in 19th-century France. The movie, which is being developed by ‘Atonement’ producer Working Title, is conceived as a big-budget musical.

A ‘Les Mis’ movie would mark a return to the big screen for the story of Jean Valjean after a 1998 non-musical version (which, coincidentally, starred ‘King’s Speech’ star Geoffrey Rush as the villainous Inspector Javert). If Hooper accepted the gig, it would continue a European trend for the director: His ‘The Damned United’ was also across the pond.

Hooper has not taken a new job since ‘Speech’ wrapped shooting about a year ago.

When we interviewed him earlier this season, Hooper said he wouldn’t mind continuing the ‘Speech’ pattern and directing another historical or period story. ‘I’m certainly on the lookout’ for something like that, he told 24 Frames.

A representative at Hooper’s agency International Creative Management did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the two projects.

The ‘Iron Man’ offer is reminiscent of last year’s bid by Sony for ‘The Hurt Locker’ director Kathryn Bigelow -- another filmmaker who saw her fortunes polished by Oscar season -- to direct its reboot of ‘Spider-Man.’ She turned it down to make ‘Triple Frontier,’ an action-movie passion project.

--Steven Zeitchik and Nicole Sperling