Production Commences On 'Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera'




BURBANK, CA, October 1, 2003 – Production has commenced on Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, the feature film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit stage musical directed by Joel Schumacher (Phone Booth, Veronica Guerin, A Time to Kill, Batman Forever) and starring Gerard Butler (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life), Emmy Rossum (Mystic River) and Patrick Wilson (Angels in America, The Alamo). The announcement was made today by Jeff Robinov, President of Production, Warner Bros. Pictures.

A Really Useful Films and Scion Films production for Warner Bros. Pictures in association with Odyssey Entertainment, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera is produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber from a screenplay by Andrew Lloyd Webber & Joel Schumacher. The executive producers are Jeff Abberley, Julia Blackman, Keith Cousins, Louise Goodsill, Ralph Kamp, Paul Hitchcock and Austin Shaw. The co-producer is Eli Richbourg. The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of a disfigured musical genius (Gerard Butler) who haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera, waging a reign of terror over its occupants. When he falls fatally in love with the lovely Christine (Emmy Rossum), the Phantom devotes himself to creating a new star for the Opera, exerting a strange sense of control over the young soprano as he nurtures her extraordinary talents.

Patrick Wilson plays Christine's childhood sweetheart Raoul. Joining the main cast are Simon Callow (Shakespeare in Love) and Ciaran Hinds (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) as the new theatre managers Andre and Firmin; Miranda Richardson (The Hours) as the ballet mistress Madame Giry; and Minnie Driver (An Ideal Husband) as the opera diva Carlotta. James Fleet (Sense and Sensibility) plays the retiring theatre manager Lefevre; Victor McGuire (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) plays the grand baritone singer Piangi; and Jennifer Ellison (Brookside) plays Christine's young friend Meg Giry.

The Phantom of the Opera stage musical, with book by Richard Stillgoe & Andrew Lloyd Webber based on the novel by Gastron Leroux, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart and additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, is the largest-grossing stage or screen production in the world, having garnered worldwide box office receipts over $3.2 billion. The show has played in over 100 cities in 17 countries, reaching an estimated audience of 70 million people.

Production on Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera began on September 15, 2003 at Pinewood Studios in the U.K. and will film there for sixteen weeks. Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera will be released in North America by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company; in the U.K. by Entertainment Film Distributors; and internationally by Odyssey Entertainment.