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Phantom of the Opera FAQ

Main »» Phantom Movie

Table of Contents

What's the history of the 2004 movie?

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom has had a long journey on to film.

Plans for a movie version of the musical have been around since the late 1980s, when Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman were to recreate their roles for the screen. Joel Schumacher was set to direct, and a script was written. The process was interrupted by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sarah Brightman's breakdown in relationship and subsequent divorce.

Brightman and Crawford had contracts to prevent anyone else being cast in the roles for 10 years. When these contracts came to an end, discussion about a Phantom movie started again. John Travolta and Antonio Banderas were considered for the lead role, Lloyd Webber regained the rights and made a deal with Warner Brothers, and Joel Schumacher (who had since become a close personal friend of Lloyd Webber's) came back onboard to direct. The script of the movie is close to the one settled in 1990.

Hugh Jackman was apparently considered for the role of the Phantom, but had other commitments. In the end they went with the largely unknown duo of Gerard Butler (who had no previous singing experience except for a rock band), and Emmy Rossum (who was in the children's chorus of the Met as a child).

The Phantom movie plans resulted in various reactions, and campaigns, from fans. Many were deeply mistrustful of what Hollywood would do to the story, especially after casting suggestions like Travolta and Banderas were made. There were anti-movie FAQs, and a "Save Phantom From Hollywood" campaign against these casting plans.

Other fans looked forward to a movie of the show which they could have on video and watch as often as they liked.

There were also fans who wanted a movie, but only if it starred Michael Crawford, as originally intended. Crawford indicted his willingness to recreate the role, and a vigorous Michael Crawford Phantom Movie Campaign was launched, which gathered much media attention and raised money for advertisements in Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, The Stage, and the New York Times. You can also read more of the history of the Phantom Movie on their site.

Peter Karrie was also mentioned in connection with the screen role, with London's Evening Standard reporting that he was to screen test for Warner Brothers, and a number of UK publications reporting an interview with Andrew Lloyd Webber in which he gave Peter Karrie and Catherine Zeta-Jones as his "dream cast" for the film.

Who's the old woman at the beginning of the movie?

The woman in the auction scene in the recent film is Madame Giry. Some people think it's Meg, but it's Miranda Richardson behind the make-up, and the script says it is Madame Giry in that scene.

Is the singing in the movie dubbed?

All the actors in the Lloyd Webber/Joel Schumacher movie sang their own roles, except for Minnie Driver as Carlotta, whose singing was done by Margaret Preece.

All movies are, in a sense, "dubbed" - they sing live while they are being filmed, but what you hear is versions of the singing recorded and re-recorded in a studio, and digitally mixed. The songs were re-recorded a number of times during the filming, as the singers improved and got more into their roles.

Some of the notes are digitally enhanced. For instance, Butler's long notes in Music of the Night are partially looped to extend them.

Who's the old man in the wheelchair?


Whose ring does the Phantom give Christine?

Does the Phantom give Christine the ring Raoul had given her, or is it a different ring that looks the same?

This confusion has apparently arisen because in some scenes, the ring has a blue tint to it from the lighting, leading people to believe that there are two different rings. Reliable people who've seen the film lots of times insist that it is the same ring, and I trust their opinion enough to affirm that as the answer. There are discussions of this in the FAQ thread at the top of the Silver Screen forum, if you disagree!

In the stage version, it is his own ring, which he wears on his finger throughout the show.

Discussion threads on the ring in the movie:
The Ring
various movie FAQs

Where was the cemetery scene filmed?

The cemetery scene was shot on a sound stage, so it's not a real place you can go and visit. Sorry!

Why is the mask on the wrong side on the CD?

In various posters and publicity material the mask is on the wrong side of the Phantom's face because the image has been reversed, due to graphic design considerations.

This is pretty common - designers will flip an image so the black space is on the right side for where they want the text, the characters are facing in the direction wanted, etc.

Why "keep your hand at the level of your eyes"?

Madame Giry advises people to keep their hand at the level of their eyes because the Phantom uses the punjab lasso as a weapon, with which he is lethal. (This makes a little more sense in the stage show, where he has travelled widely rather than growing up under the opera house.)

If you keep your hand up by your eyes, a lasso will probably go around your hand and arm as well as your head, enabling you to prevent yourself from being strangled. Of course Raoul forgets this, and ends up lassoed.

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