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Category: Phantom of the Opera News
Article Date: April 9, 2003 | Publication: Daily Mail | Author: Baz Bamigboye
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AS CARPENTERS, engineers and electricians began work recreating the Paris Opera on an English sound stage at Pinewood studios, a leading lady still had not been found for the GBP 50 million screen version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom Of The Opera.

The Phantom who stalks the bowels of the Paris Opera has been cast, but he can't be officially signed until the object of his desire, the ballerina Christine (created by Sarah Brightman on stage), has been discovered.

Gerard Butler has been picked to play the silky-voiced 'ghost', who creates havoc behind the scenes as he stalks his beloved. But at the moment, Lloyd Webber and the movie's director Joel Schumacher still can't decide who to cast as Gerard's onscreen flame.

The one they really wanted, Ann Hathaway, had to go off and do another project.

Filming is due to begin at Pinewood in September, where an award-winning creative team have assembled to recreate the Paris Opera. A mammoth chandelier has been commissioned from an expert in the French capital.

Troubles over casting Christine apart, pre-production continues apace.

Miranda Richardson has been offered the part of the ballet mistress, while Patrick Wilson, an American performer, will play the young man who loves Christine.

Mr Butler, who has played Dracula on screen and appears with Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider sequel The Cradle Of Life, has sung for Lloyd Webber and Schumacher.

Producers hope the Phantom will gain some Oscar attention in 2005.

Meanwhile, Harvey Weinstein of Miramax Films has been in London scouting new projects.

On Wednesday night he was spotted in the audience at Ragtime at the Piccadilly.

However I suspect his next film musical will be Guys An Dolls.

* MUSICAL chairs is still ongoing in the West End.

There are preliminary talks about bringing Baz Luhrmann's sublime production of Puccini's La Boheme to the Prince Edward Theatre next year for a limited run as part of its world tour.

If all the figures add up, the show could play in the late spring or early summer of next year, once Mamma Mia! has transferred to the Prince of Wales.

Mary Poppins could then open at the Prince Edward in the late autumn or winter of next year.

None of this is set in stone and negotiations continue.

The Rod Stewart musical will open at the Victoria Palace in October, which means Jerry Springer - The Opera, a hit at the National, is still looking for a home in the West End, although not everyone is convinced it will have a long run once it moves from the South Bank.

Copyright 2003 Associated Newspapers Ltd.

 


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