The Oscar winner explained to Flicks and Bits that he initially found nothing attractive about his character, the cruel police inspector Javert.
"Funnily enough, I had a negative response to the idea of it when it first came to me, when [producer] Cameron Mackintosh wanted to have a meeting in London," Crowe said. "I was actually on my way to Europe for a friend's wedding, so I popped into London and went to the stage show with him and we talked afterwards."
He continued: "For me, and this is probably an unpopular attitude to have, considering what we're talking about, but I didn't like the character in the stage show, I didn't respond to it at all. I just thought it was overly simplistic and I couldn't follow why he came to the conclusions he came to, you know?"
Crowe went on to credit director Tom Hooper with inspiring him to sign on for the Les Misérables all-star cast.
"When I had my meeting with Tom Hooper I started outlining all these things that I saw as being negatives and my reasons for saying 'Thanks, but no thanks'," he recalled. "And somehow in that meeting with Tom, all of those questions became my responsibility."
"I just felt a determination to answer all those questions and find solutions for all those questions and problems. You want to be on film sets with people who are like that, with directors who might not have all the answers, but they're clear in their determination to achieve them."
Javert has previously been played on the stage, screen and television by Anthony Bate, John Malkovich and Antonio Passy.
The film is now playing in the US and opens in the UK on January 11, 2013. Watch a clip from the movie below: