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Series / Les Misérables (2000)

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Les Misérables is a 2000 coproduction (chiefly French) miniseries adapting Victor Hugo's landmark novel of the same name. The miniseries reunited a good chunk of the production of 1998's The Count of Monte Cristo, including director Josée Dayan, screenwriter Didier Decoin and leading actor Gérard Depardieu.

The cast was quite star-studded, with the aformentioned Depardieu as Jean Valjean, John Malkovich as Javert, Virginie Ledoyen as Cosette, Charlotte Gainsbourg as Fantine, Christian Clavier as Mr. Thénardier, Asia Argento as Éponine Thénardier, Enrico Lo Verso as Marius Pontmercy, Michel Duchaussoy as Gillenormand and Jeanne Moreau as Mother Innocente.

Two versions were shot — the original 400 minutes version in four episodes for French TV that was filmed in French language, and a separate 86 minutes version in two episodes that was filmed entirely in English language.

This adaptation provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Fantine is a blonde in the novel, while here she has brown hair.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Gavroche starts off older than Cosette, but still looks the same age nine years later, somehow.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Valjean admits to being in love with Cosette, whom he raised. This never happened in the novel.
  • Institutional Apparel: Valjean wears a historically accurate one when he's at the penal colony (yellow trousers, white shirt, red vest, and jacket and green caps for lifers or red caps for non-lifers).
  • Same Language Dub: John Malkovich (Javert) was dubbed by Edgar Givry in the version shot in French language.
  • Shipped in Shackles: Cosette and Valjean watch a convoy of shackled convicts pass by at one point.
  • Truer to the Text: Minus the Adaptation Relationship Overhaul mentioned above, this adaptation is considered to be one of the most faithful to the novel, covering the full arc of the story over its 6+ hours runtime.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: Gavroche is unrelated to the Thénardier couple here, while he's their son in the novel.
  • Wife Husbandry: Unlike the novel and many other versions, Valjean admits to Marius that he is in love with Cosette here.