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"The Phantom of the Opera" Marks Comeback for the Film Musical

Category: Phantom of the Opera News
Article Date: December 14, 2004 | Publication: Fashion Wire Daily | Author: Nitzan Koshet

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NEW YORK -The New York film premiere Sunday night of the world famous musical "The Phantom as the Opera" at the Ziegfeld signaled a definite comeback of the musical film genre.

Based on the beloved Broadway musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the musical tells the story of a disfigured musical genius (Gerard Butler) who haunts the Paris opera and falls in love with Christine, a ballerina who is inspired to become a singer (Emmy Rossum). The Phantom devotes himself to creating a new star for the opera, exerting a strange sense of control over the young soprano.

On hand from the cast for the premiere were Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Minnie Driver, Jennifer Ellison, director and screenplay writer Joel Schumacher and composer, writer and producer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Other guests spotted on the red carpet included Joan Collins, Colin Farrell, Crystal Hunt, Matthew Modine and Sylvia Miles.

Director Joel Schumacher talked to FWD about getting involved with the project: "Andrew [Lloyd Webber] asked me to do it in 1988, when he saw [Schumacher directed] 'The Lost Boys,' and I went and saw the show and I just always thought it would make a great film."

"The movie is so different than the show Andrew gave us so much freedom," Schumacher added.

The young Emmy Rossum, who plays Christine in the film and is probably the most trained singer out of the cast, was still very excited and honored to join the production. On working with Schumacher she said, "Fantastic! He gave me so much confidence, which is something I needed, because I was seventeen and they normally don't give a big Hollywood musical to a girl my age, so it was really exciting."

Schumacher said that one of his requests for directing this project was for the cast to be young.

As for the two handsome men fighting over her in the film, Rossum claims to have enjoyed every minute of it. "I felt wonderful I mean I'm not that lucky in real life, so it was a joy."

When asked if she had another opportunity to kiss one of her co-stars, who would it be, she smiled and said she couldn't tell "cause they'll rip my head off."

Butler, wearing Valentino, talked about portraying the title role. "The most important part for me is that I initially and instinctively felt the heart and soul of this character. I read the script and by the end of it I was weeping with tears, because I connected so much."

"And I did a sh**load of work on singing and movement," Butler added with a charming Scottish accent.

Butler is not new to music he sings in a band, as well as acting in movies, but he did have to learn a lot for the type of music "Phantom" requires. He later revealed that his friends from the band think it's hilarious that he is doing it, but of course they all came to see him and support.

On the differences between the stage version and the film, Butler said, "I had seen the play by the time I started the movie, but I'd never seen it when I first got the script, which was perfect." He continued, "It gave me an idea of what I didn't want to do not that I was witnessing bad acting, but I had the benefit of reading the film script, and I knew that we are trying to do something that was far more human and therefore gets closer to the heart."

Butler claims to learn a lot from the role he played. "I felt some compassion for this character, and I actually became angry, and I accuse myself of that as well, of how greedy we've become in this world, how self-absorbed, and the lack of community, and wish that if only people had taken a better time to get over what is really superficial and get to know somebody who has so much to offer to the world."

The film opens in theaters nationwide on December 22.


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