Film Phantom Worth The Wait

Category: Phantom of the Opera Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: December 21, 2004 | Publication: Sci Fi Wire | Author: editors
Publication/Article Link:

Joel Schumacher, director of the upcoming movie of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera, told SCI FI Wire that he is happy he waited to make the adaptation until later in his career. “When [Andrew Lloyd Webber] first asked me to do it, which was amazing, I'd only made four movies,” Schumacher said in an interview. “I'd done 18 by the time I went back to do it, so hopefully I've learned something. And also, I think we were also more removed from the success of the show than we would have been if we made it in 1990. That would have been looming over us a lot more.”

In the film, the shadowy Phantom (Gerard Butler) picks a young ingenue named Christine (Emmy Rossum) to be the new star in the 19th-century Opera Populaire in Paris. Schumacher said he made several changes to the hit stage musical to smooth the transition to the screen, most notably delaying a climactic disaster.

“In the show, the chandelier [crash] ends the first act, which is in the middle of the show,” Schumacher said. “I said to Andrew, if we crash the chandelier in the middle of the movie and burn down the theater, I don't know what I'll do. Are they singing in tents after that? In all fairness, it was his suggestion that maybe we needed to move the chandelier, and I thought that was a really good idea.”

Schumacher also said he wanted to create a backstory for the Phantom and several of the characters, whom he considered underdeveloped in the stage version. “I also thought it was very important to tell the Phantom's backstory and everybody's backstory: How they got there, what Miranda Richardson's [Madame Giry] character's relationship is with the Phantom,” he said. “You know, all of those questions that don't seem to pop up in the musical. [For] movie audiences, I think it's important to know a lot of the history of these characters and how they got there. I thought it was also important to expand Patrick Wilson's [Raoul] part, because in the show it's very minor, very peripheral. [We wanted] to make him a real person. And because Patrick's such a stunt stud, he did all his own stunts. He rides the horse bareback. He does the jumps. He did all of the sword fighting himself, and he jumps out of the second-story balcony when it's on fire. Andrew calls him the Annoyingly Perfect Patrick Wilson." Phantom of the Opera opens in theaters Dec. 22.