David Oyelowo on Why 'Les Misérables' Is Still Worth Watching Without Music

Les Miserables
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You won't "hear the people sing" in writer Andrew Davies' adaptation of Victor Hugo's revolutionary 1862 novel, Les Misérables (available through August 31).

Dispensing with the power-ballad-belting of the Broadway favorite, this six-part 2019 PBS limited series follows police inspector Javert's (David Oyelowo) obsessive quest to bring ex-con Jean Valjean (Dominic West) to justice and Valjean's transformative journey to turn his life around and do good in the world.

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The Oscar-nominated actor also weighs in on why the PBS miniseries feels particularly resonant right now.

"A preacher gives [Valjean] a second chance, and then he pays it forward at every turn," says Oyelowo. "But [Javert’s] moral compass is black-and-white. It says you are one thing or the other."

The story unfolds against a backdrop of social injustice and political upheaval, and, according to Davies, "Hugo's powerful vision of a society divided into haves and have-nots and people struggling to survive has reverberations in the world today."

Les Miserables

(Credit: Laurence Cendrowicz/BBC)

While fans of the musical may miss the songs, Davies suggests with a chuckle, "They can always hum the tunes when they come to the relevant bit of the story!"

Les Misérables, Limited series, Available Now, Amazon Prime Video