Les Misérables Cast & Characters: Who’s Who
The epic six-part television adaptation of Victor Hugo’s literary classic Les Misérables on MASTERPIECE on PBS has an uber-talented, star-studded cast that fans have fallen in love with! Check out our round-up of who’s who in the Les Misérables cast and where you’ve seen (and loved) them before.
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West plays the previously imprisoned Jean Valjean, the story’s hero – “the best superhero that’s ever been written about,” according to West – whose journey for redemption and good is anything but easy. West also stars in The Affair (with Mrs. Wilson star Ruth Wilson), and previously in the gritty classic The Wire. He also recently performed alongside Keira Knightley in the feature film Colette, which earned him a British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Oyelowo brings to life the complicated, driven and obsessive Javert, whose sole mission in life, it would seem, is to bring down Jean Valjean in a quest for what he believes is right. “Javert … was born to criminal parents in prison,” said Oyelowo. “He could have gone down the path of criminality himself, but he chooses the path of righteousness… You see a man on his own personal quest for justice.”
Oyelowo has previously been nominated for a multiple Golden Globes and Emmy Awards in his career, and is best known for his role as the iconic Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, as Peter Snowden in the 2014 drama Nightingale, and alongside Lupita Nyong’o in Queen of Katwe. Later in 2019, Oyelowo can be found on the big-screen starring alongside Angelina Jolie in the Peter Pan/Alice in Wonderland prequel Come Away.
Collins stars as the tragic Fantine, abandoned by her lover and left to raise her daughter Cosette, alone in the world. “I personally as an actor have never gone that low,” said Collins of playing Fantine’s heartbreaking decline. “It was a really powerful experience for me to let go and give it all up to the moment.”
Collins previously appeared in the award-winning film The Blind Side alongside Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and Quinton Aaron. She also starred in Rules Don’t Apply which earned her a Golden Globe nomination, the hit romantic comedy Love, Rosie, and To The Bone. Later this year, Collins is also set to star in a number of films, including Tolkien, as J.R.R. Tolkien’s wife Edith Bratt; and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile as infamous killer Ted Bundy’s girlfriend, Liz Kendall.
Olivia Colman’s called her character Madame Thénardier “deeply unpleasant in every way” and while she may be as bad as they come, there’s no denying that Colman herself is pleasantly fantastic. Her jam-packed resume most recently includes an Oscar win for her role as Queen Anne in the award-winning 2018 film The Favourite alongside Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, as well as her upcoming debut as Queen Elizabeth in the next season of The Crown. She’s previously appeared in Broadchurch, The Night Manager and Hot Fuzz, among others.
Akhtar brings new life to Monsieur Thérnardier, the scavenger, innkeeper, schemer and faux war-hero who, along with his wife, takes in Cosette “out of the kindness of their hearts” and treats her (and eventually their own children) as their own personal staff.
He is particularly excited for audiences to connect with the story in a new way with this adaptation. “When you have a good story, it doesn’t matter where it’s placed in history as it speaks to a universality of people’s emotions and needs,” he said. “The stories are about love and kindness and that’s always something that any audience is receptive to.”
Akhtar previously appeared in The Big Sick, Victoria & Abdul, Utopia and MASTERPIECE’s Unforgotten.
Bamber stars as the grown-up, dreamer Cosette, whose life in hiding with Valjean, though a step above her horrific situation with the Thernardiers, is too restrictive for her. She wants to see the world! When she falls in love with Marius, not even revolution can keep them apart. Bamber previously starred in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as Lydia Bennet and in 2018’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
O’Connor stars as love-struck law-student and reluctant revolutionary Marius Pontmercy in Les Misérables, but MASTERPIECE fans will instantly recognize him as Lawrence Durrell from The Durrells in Corfu. He also appeared in Florence Foster Jenkins alongside Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, and in the 2017 film God’s Own Country.
Kellyman steps into the tragic role of Éponine, whose unrequited love for Marius drives her story. Before her days in 19th century France, she appeared in the television series Raised by Wolves, and later on the big-screen in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
David Bradley appears as Marius’ politically outspoken, Napoleon-hating, but nonetheless loving grandfather Gillenormand in Les Miserables, fleshing out a character previously unknown in previous and musical adaptations of the novel. Bradley’s career includes iconic roles in Game of Thrones (as Walder Frey) and the Harry Potter films (as Argus Filch).
Longtime MASTERPIECE fans may recognize Bradley from appearances in Our Mutual Friend, Reckless and The Way We Live Now.
Sumpter plays the role of Mabeuf, the man who reveals the truth to Marius about his father, and who, despite his age, heroically fights alongside those at the barricade. Sumpter’s impressive career includes Game of Thrones (as Maester Luwin!), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Doctor Who.
Loyal MASTERPIECE fans may be interested to know that Sumpter appeared in the very first MASTERPIECE production, The First Churchills.
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