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Phantom Sought Young Stars

Category: Phantom of the Opera News
Article Date: December 22, 2004 | Publication: SciFiWire | Author: Editors

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Joel Schumacher, director of the upcoming movie of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera, told SCI FI Wire that he credits his crew with creating the film's rich look. "My job is to hire people far more talented than I am and give them a direction," Schumacher said in an interview. “If I say, 'For the masquerade ball, let's do it all black and white and gold and silver, and then we'll put [star] Emmy [Rossum] in pink and the Phantom in red,' that's an idea. But what they do with it is all them. That's just a concept."

Phantom translates Webber's hit stage musical to the big screen, with the same story of Christine (Rossum), an ingenue in a 19th-century Parisian opera house, who finds herself caught between the love of a childhood suitor (Patrick Wilson) and a mysterious benefactor, the Phantom (Gerard Butler). Schumacher said that he wanted to make sure that the characters and story were as believable as possible in the context of the film's opulent universe.

"This is a young, tragic love story, and it has to have great sets and great music and great costumes and all of the sword fights and horses and carriages, but that's potatoes," Schumacher said. "I said to Andrew, 'I'll do the movie if Christine can be very young,' because if you do the research, the ballet girls are very young. But also I wanted her to be innocent so that her relationship with Patrick Wilson would be the awakening of romantic love for the first time, and the relationship with Gerard Butler's character, the Phantom, is [a] more dark, obsessional, awakening of sexual, destructive love. The good kind."

Schumacher added that he was less concerned with casting known actors for the lead roles than finding the right people to act and sing in the film. "I said, 'If there are famous people in this movie, that's fine, Andrew, but I don't want to be saddled with anybody,'" Schumacher said. "It wasn't who I wanted. It was how can I make this story work for you? I said, 'She must be young. The guys must be young. And if they are famous, fine. If they are unknown, fine.' And he said, 'You can have anyone you want, but they have to be able to do their own singing.' That was the deal. We shook hands, and that's how it happened." Phantom of the Opera opens in theaters Dec. 22.


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