DIRECTORS FIGHT FOR SCOT TO PLAY PHANTOM AND ROBERT BURNS; A BURNING AMBITION TO PLAY THE BARD
Category: Misc./General Career News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: April 30, 2003 | Publication: The Express | Author: Gavin Docherty
SCOTS heartthrob Gerard Butler has become involved in an tug-of-war with rival filmmakers who want him to star in the Phantom of the Opera and the life of Robert Burns.
The Paisley-born actor can't believe his luck in being first choice for the lead in both movies against such stars as Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp and Ewan McGregor.
Director Joel Schumacher has offered the 33-year-old the starring role as the masked musical genius who hides in the Paris Opera House, in the movie which has started pre-production in London. Butler, however, has already indicated he wants to star as the bard in a separate Robert Burns film.
All eyes are now on the actor who won the role of Angelina Jolie's love interest Terry Sheridan, in Tomb Raider 2: The Cradle of Life. According to insiders Butler - who came to screen prominence in the films Dracula 2000, and Atilla The Hun - has not decided whether to take the Phantom.
But Schumacher, who was behind the Colin Farrell thriller Phone Booth, has announced he wants Butler because he was impressed with his sinister yet amusing portrayal of Dracula.
Since its London premiere in the mid 1980s, The Phantom of the Opera has bloomed into history's most successful stage musical. The role will certainly give Butler a bumper paycheck - but his heart is said to be with the Burns project, variously titled Red Rose and Clarinda, which has been linked to Hollywood pin-ups McGregor and Depp.
The life of the Ayrshire ploughboy and national bard has been penned by Alan Sharp, famous for his film portrayal of another Scottish hero, Rob Roy. Director of the Burns film Vadim Jean, said last night he'd like to cast Butler as Burns.
"He wants to do it and he's becoming famous enough too, " said Jean. "He also had most votes on the website."
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