Also, although Warner Brothers would like to begin shooting on the Phantom Of The Opera film in 1998, still no director or star has been chosen. According to Lloyd Webber spokesperson Peter Brown, reached Feb. 27, there was still "no news" on the film's plans.
Back in late 1997, Variety asked the composer about the persistent rumor that John Travolta is mulling taking the lead in the Phantom film. Webber confirmed that ongoing meetings have been taking place. Webber said the goal was to make sure "Travolta is entirely confident that he can deliver it, because there can be no question of fiddling with this one" (a reference to changes made to the Madonna film of Evita).
Earlier in the summer, websites were abuzz -- and a-flame -- over the idea of Travolta starring in the Warner Brothers film. Several sites have sprung up vociferously objecting to the potential casting, since Michael Crawford originated the role. The "No Film Of Phantom" campaign is targeting Warner Brothers and the Really Useful Company with a letter writing and e-mail onslaught in the hopes of changing the studio's mind about their casting choice for the deformed maestro.
Webber spokesperson Peter Brown wouldn't comment on Travolta or Crawford but told Playbill On-Line (June 19) "Warner Brothers is still searching for a director and leading man, as soon as we have those, we'll be a go, very quickly."
According to one website, the Travolta rumor started when the actor, on a May 19 UK television interview from the Cannes Film Festival, revealed that he was seriously considering the part and was scheduled to meet with composer Webber. When the commentator -- who said Crawford had been passed over for the role -- asked Travolta if he could handle such an operatic role, Travolta replied that Erik the Phantom would be "easier to sing" than the light pop songs in Grease because you could "give your whole heart and soul and annunciation and pronouciation to the words" of operatic songs."