Really Useful Films today announced the principal cast of the highly anticipated feature film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera to be directed by Joel Schumacher. Principal photography will begin on 15th September 2003 at Pinewood Studios in the UK.
An exciting trio of fresh young talent from both sides of the Atlantic will fill the starring roles.
After an exhaustive search, Emmy Rossum, a 16-year-old New Yorker, has been chosen by Lloyd Webber for the star-making role of Christine. Emmy has been with the Metropolitan Opera in New York since the age of seven and is already an acclaimed opera singer, having performed with such stars as Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. Emmy’s previous roles include The Audrey Hepburn Story for television, Songcatcher and An American Rhapsody. She can currently be seen in Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, recently in competition at Cannes 2003.
Gerard Butler, the 33-year old Scottish TV, stage and film actor, has won the coveted role of the Phantom. He began his career on the stage, most notably playing Ewan McGregor’s character, Renton, in the stage adaptation of Trainspotting. His movie debut was alongside Billy Connolly in Mrs. Brown, followed by roles in Tomorrow Never Dies, Dracula 2000 and Reign of Fire. He will soon be seen in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and Richard Donner’s Timeline.
Patrick Wilson, will star as Raoul, Christine’s childhood sweetheart. The 29-year-old actor will soon be seen in the upcoming Angels in America and The Alamo, alongside Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid.
Andrew Lloyd Webber said, “From the beginning Joel and I always wanted a young and relatively unknown cast. Given his track record for discovering stars such as Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland and Colin Farrell, who am I to argue with him?”
Odyssey Entertainment is handling international sales, Warner Bros. will distribute the film in North America and Entertainment Film Distributors in the UK. The film is being financed with the assistance of Scion Films.
Ralph Kamp and Louise Goodsill from Odyssey Entertainment Ltd. said, “There has been a lot of speculation about the casting of the movie and we’re thrilled with the talent involved.”
Loosely based on the 1910 novel Le Fantome de L’Opera by Gaston Leroux, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera is the classic and highly emotive story of the love triangle between Christine (Emmy Rossum), a beautiful young opera singer, Raoul (Patrick Wilson) her childhood sweetheart, and the Phantom (Gerard Butler) – a tormented and horribly disfigured musical genius.
After a succession of inexplicable accidents at the Opera Populaire, the reigning diva La Carlotta quits, giving the new theatre managers no option but to turn to the young Christine in the lead role – an opportunity she has always craved. Christine dazzles all of Paris with her performance, including Raoul the Vicompte de Chagny, whom she has not seen since childhood. But she has another admirer. The mysterious Phantom lurking unseen in the shadows, is also fast falling in love with her.
Deep in his subterranean lair beneath the opera house the Phantom seduces her with his exquisite music but no sooner has she fallen for him that she discovers his terrible secret. She flees into the welcoming arms of Raoul and, watched by the Phantom, they escape to the rooftops of the Opera House. As they exchange tender words of love the Phantom’s fury at her betrayal becomes murderous. He hatches a plot to win her back and in a dramatic and tense climax Christine is forced to choose between Raoul and the Phantom – her Angel of Music.
The Phantom of the Opera stage musical, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart and additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, is the largest grossing stage or screen production in the world with a box-office of more than $3.2 billion. It has played in over 100 cities in 17 countries around the world, reaching an estimated audience of 70 million people.
Joel Schumacher has directed a string of box office successes including Phone Booth (2002), Batman & Robin (1997), A Time to Kill (1996), Batman Forever (1995), The Client (1994), Flatliners (1990) and St Elmo’s Fire (1985). Schumacher’s most recent film – Veronica Guerin – will be released this year.
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