Antonio Banderas Ready to Star in The Phantom of the Opera Movie

News   Antonio Banderas Ready to Star in The Phantom of the Opera Movie Antonio Banders, star of film and the upcoming Broadway revival of Nine, told Playbill On-Line he is ready to fill the title role for the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera.

"If they need me or they think that I am the person to play that character on the big screen, I'll be there," said Banderas who is among a list of few mentioned to play the haunted character. (Other names that have been rumored include Hugh Jackman ? set to star on Broadway next season in The Boy From Oz). Banderas, who has already worked on a Lloyd Webber movie musical, as Che in 1996's "Evita," added about the composer "We have been in contact since the time that I did 'Evita,' talking about "Phantom." I was in London with him several times when Shekhar Kapur was attached to the project. Nothing happened. It was [left] in the hands of Warner Bros."

Lloyd Webber recently bought the Phantom film rights back from Warner Bros., reports have revealed. "Batman & Robin" helmer Joel Schumacher will direct the feature-film version and Austin Shaw, the managing director of Really Useful Films, is currently in Los Angeles to begin casting the projected $50-$60 million film. Filming is to begin next autumn in the United Kingdom.

Based on the classic Gaston Leroux novel, The Phantom of the Opera features music by Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart and additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe. Harold Prince directed both the London and New York premieres. The New York production ? originally starring Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman ? won six 1988 Tony Awards including one for Best Musical. The score includes such tunes as "Think of Me," "The Music of the Night," "All I Ask of You," "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," "The Point of No Return" and the title tune. Howard McGillin currently heads the Broadway company as the disfigured Phantom who falls in love with a naive chorus girl, Christine Daae.