MILLAR'S MOVIE: SCOTS STAR HITS RIGHT NOTES AS PHANTOM

Category: Phantom of the Opera News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: December 5, 2004 | Publication: Scotland on Sunday | Author: JOHN MILLAR
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MILLAR'S MOVIE: SCOTS STAR HITS RIGHT NOTES AS PHANTOM; JOHN MILLAR PREVIEWS THE FILM VERSION OF THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA,

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (12A)

Scots star Gerard Butler had plenty of musical experience to draw on for his role as The Phantom Of The Opera in Joel Schumacher's sumptuous adaptation of the hit musical.

Butler - who has starred in Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life, Reign Of Fire and Dracula 2001 - comes from a family of crooners.

The star, who was raised in Paisley, said: 'Once a week we would all get together and sing favourite songs. would sit, open-mouthed, thinking this was fantastic.'

Butler's singing potential was spotted when he was still at school. He revealed: 'I'll never forget being taken to sing Mull of Kintyre for the class above me. I was terrified.

'I was marched into the classroom and the teacher said, 'Gerard Butler from primary five will now sing'.'

When he left school, Gerard spent a couple of years in a band - but he never imagined that he would star in a big-screen version of one of the world's most famous musicals.

The story is about a disfigured man who lives in the sewers under the Paris Opera House. He falls in love with a chorus girl, Christine, and teaches her to be a great singer.

He then terrorises the opera house until they give his pupil lead roles. But when Christine falls in love with another, Raoul, the jealous Phantom kidnaps her and imprisons her in his lair, leaving Raoul to try and rescue his beloved.

The film also stars The Day After Tomorrow's Emmy Rossum as Christine and Minnie Driver as stuck-up diva Carlotta.

Butler beat Antonio Banderas to the coveted role of the Phantom after auditioning for Schumacher, the musical's writer Andrew Lloyd Webber and producer Austin Shaw.

He said: 'It is still a surprise to me that am doing The Phantom.

'I work very hard and I'm very passionate and determined about what do. Sometimes I was singing three times a day as prepared.'

But the singing wasn't the most challenging part of the role - it was the make-up process.

Butler said: 'It is not comfortable, especially since I have very sensitive skin.I had trouble when I did Dracula - the make-up used to burn.

'For this I did three make-up tests for the prosthetic and the tests took nine hours each time. That was the worst thing about this part.

'Sitting and not moving while three people were poking in your face was torture.'