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That’s in addition to a publicity campaign highlighting tales of Hathaway existing on scant servings of oatmeal to lose 25 pounds while playing the fallen Fantine and how her castmates sang their throats ragged by performing every song live on set. The current rendition of appears 150 years after Victor Hugo wrote his 1,900- page novel and nearly 30 years since Mackintosh first became involved.In 1983, theater director Peter Farago approached him with a recording of Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil’s work, three years after they had staged a semi-concert version in Paris.

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The staffer put the adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel through proprietary computer simulations to estimate box office, examining data from 5,000 other films, including period pieces, movies with the same potential lead actors and other musicals.

In other words, he tried to Nate Silver the movie’s chances of success.

“It was a big risk,” says director Tom Hooper, describing his first movie since 2010’s Oscar-winning “Hopefully, it seems like less of a risk now.” Universal did everything to ensure that.

Even during the audition process, executives examined audio from the cast, which includes Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried.

“We started talking about a deal in late 2009 and only concluded it toward the middle of 2011 — and some amendments were still going on into the shoot.” Through all the years was in development at Tri Star, no screenplay had been written.

Now Fellner, Bevan and their head of development, Debra Hayward (who would leave the company to produce), engaged William Nicholson, the Oscar-nominated writer of STORY: ' Les Miserables' Wows First Audience in New York, Clearly Headed for Oscars (Analysis) “People think screenwriters write dialogue, but the main thing you do is create a coherent story structure — and we already had a very fine piece of work,” he notes.

Since then, there have been premieres in Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, with another scheduled to take place Dec. Those screenings drew rapturous responses, with ’s record 14 Oscar nominations.

VIDEO: Behind the Scenes of THR's ' Les Misérables' Cover Shoot Still, a two-hour, 38-minute drama about a hardened French convict who is pursued by a ferocious police inspector and who then finds redemption while caring for the child of a prostitute is nothing if not a challenge.

PHOTOS: THR's Director Roundtable: 6 Hollywood Auteurs on Tantrums, Dealing With Actors and When They'll Quit Realizing he would need a proper English-language text, Mackintosh () contacted poet James Fenton to rework the lyrics — just before Fenton set off on a trip into the jungles of Borneo.

“He took the novel with him, and because it was so heavy, he tore out the chapters one by one as he read them and fed them to the crocodiles,” recalls Mackintosh, perhaps with a touch of theatrical license.

“This was the first time it went from being an intellectual idea to a reality for Tom,” says Jackman.

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