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Masked Phantom comes to the big screen.

Category: Phantom of the Opera News
Article Date: December 6, 2004 | Publication: BBC Breakfast | Author: tv transcript (thanks to fieryangel for transcribing)
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Female Interviewer: And on that note, let’s speak to Gerard Butler, who plays the Phantom. Good morning, welcome to you.

GB: Good morning.

Female Interviewer:What an extraordinary role to take on when actually you are, as people are saying, a relative newcomer.

GB: yeah, I have to say I was slightly shocked myself when I was approached about the role. One, because it was a musical, and I’ve never had a singing lesson in my life.

Female Interviewer:Really?

GB: No, not at all. So I thought it was kind of a strange notion for me to do it, until I read the script and Joel Schumacher’s interpretation of it and I listened to the music from the stage show. Closed all the curtains, put on the candles, and by the end of it I thought ‘I have to take on this role.’

Female Interviewer:Absolutely!
Male Interviewer: ALW said to the director, Joel Schumacher, he said he could have any one he likes—famous or unknown—on the condition that they sang their own songs. So when we hear you hitting the notes there…that’s all you?

GB: That’s all me, yeah. Yeah I was a bit surprised by that myself. But it took a lot a work. I took, I can’t tell ya how many—it feels like thousands—of hours of singing lessons. I sang with singing coaches in Scotland, London, LA, New York, I sang with my own exercise tapes at home. Everybody around me was telling me to shut up. I think a lot of them grew sick of me.

Female Interviewer:But you had sung in a band before, hadn’t you? A very different…

GB: Yeah, it was a rock band, we used to do Rolling Stones covers and Jim Morrison, there was a lot of screaming went on there. I was actually training as a lawyer at that time. It wasn’t a signed band, or a professional band. But I do love singing.

Male Interviewer: let’s just talk about that. Training as a lawyer, I was just reading about that, how did you get into acting then? It seems quite far apart.

GB: Well, I don’t think I was ever really cut out to be a lawyer—which anybody watching this who I worked with could say ‘yeah, we know’—but literally the next day, when that all finished, I just packed my bags and moved down to London and said ‘y’know what, this is what you want to do, why not give it a shot.’ I came down, I took some odd jobs, then blagged my way into an audition, then another one. Then got an agent and then…y’know. It’s kind of a dream story if I stand outside myself and think about it. Then it’s kind of an amazing story.

Female Interviewer:And what a success it’s been! We’re going to look at some more pictures of the Phantom. What’s extraordinary about it is that it has sort of captured the public’s imagination for so long. And now being reinvented yet again.

GB: Yeah, I just think it’s a very powerful story. So incredibly romantic and tragic at the same time.

Male Interviewer: The great thing about the Hollywood treatment though—I mean having seen the stage show—is you can really go, look at this, you can really go large on it. They’re giving it the full production aren’t they.

GB: I tell ya, I mean I worked on this movie for many months, but even when I watched it, it just took my breath away. It’s such an experience to behold. It’s so incredibly opulent and beautiful. Every frame is a work of art, and yet at the same time at the heart of it, what you get is a love story where you can really see the pathos of the character by moving in and seeing what’s going on with them. So I think it works on all levels.

Female Interviewer:What about when you do watch it though, and you watch your performance. No doubt you’re hypocritical, otherwise you wouldn’t be so successful. Usually people think ‘aaah! Y’know what I wish I’d had a chance to shoot that again or sing that again…’ how does it work?

GB: Oh my god, yeah. Don’t ask me! I’d love to talk about the movie and not my performance…But I think as a whole, I’m so proud to have been a part of this. Really, I mean, it’s gone to new levels in every way. It really is an exceptional piece of work.

Male Interviewer: The big premiere tonight.

GB: yeah, I have to go and shave. I’m not going to sing. Y’know, I sing less now than I ever did! I used to just be very free with my singing, but now I think I feel a responsibility to be good.

Female Interviewer:Well we’re not going to ask you to sing now, enjoy the premiere! Thanks for coming in and talking to us!

GB: Thank you

Female Interviewer:Really good luck, we’re looking really forward to seeing that.

 


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