Playbill Poll: Who Should Star in the Phantom Movie? -- Part 24

News   Playbill Poll: Who Should Star in the Phantom Movie? -- Part 24 Warner Brothers is seeking a director and star for its forthcoming film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. Lloyd Webber's spokesman has confirmed that Antonio Banderas (Che in the film of Evita) is the front-runner to play the Phantom, and Banderas has told film magazines that he's the man. But Warner Brothers says no contract has yet been signed.

Warner Brothers is seeking a director and star for its forthcoming film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. Lloyd Webber's spokesman has confirmed that Antonio Banderas (Che in the film of Evita) is the front-runner to play the Phantom, and Banderas has told film magazines that he's the man. But Warner Brothers says no contract has yet been signed.

Playbill On-Line asked readers: Who do you think would be best to play the Phantom? Please send your proposed casting choice to Managing Editor Robert Viagas. You must include at least two sentences on why you think your candidate is best. E mails with just a name will not be posted.

Owing to the huge response, we have created this twenty-fourth file of posts. Playbill On-Line thanks all those who took the time to write.

From Matthew Miller:
I think the PERFECT phantom would be, television and film star, Robin Williams. The boy can sing amazingly (if you've ever heard him). He's got amazing charisma and energy that's is perfect for the role. He's a famous name (that movie producers love to invest in) and he will sell tickets which will help further movie musical making. Especially after his recent Academy Award....he's a star. You might look at him and say...."no way, that mork"...but I see tremendous potential for an amazing performance. He's got what it takes...if Lloyd and the producers know what's good for them...they'll cast him right away.


From Cheryl Albert:
Michael Crawford quite simply IS the Phantom! Yes, it is Webber who wrote the musical of Phantom of the Opera, but Michael made the Phantom. "Too old." did Webber say? Well, I think he ought to get out his copy of the novel. Michael is the perfect age to play Erik. Michael's voice is like a fine wine that only gets better with age. Michael has won just about every award around for HIS role. If that alone doesn't tell you who the Phantom is, then I don't know. As to Bandaras, it's not that he's a bad performer; but he's also not a GREAT one. He's perfect for Zorro, but please don't turn Phantom into a zero.


From Bob DeSimone:
The worst thing that can be done to the POTO movie is to not cast Michael Crawford as the Phantom. He is the Phantom. I have seen many actors portray the opera ghost and NOBODY can do it like Mr. Crawford. My fear is that Hollywood is going to take this wonderfully complex, tortured soul and turn him into a Freddy Krueger. Or by choosing a no-talent hollywood hunk who is not upto the challenge. Michael Crawford has proven time and time again that he is more than capable to handle the role. He is certainly no stranger to the silver screen. The public recognizes Mr. Crawford as the Phantom. he is the voice heard still today on the soundtrack. Whether he play the role on film or not, Michael Crawford is and always will be the PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.


From Cybersurf:
I have two choices for this role the first is the one that most people agree on and that is Michael Crawford. He created the role and as with all his performances really gives something of himself, the same could also be said of my other choice Anthony Warlow. The orignal Phantom here down under is a performer of extraordinary talent and if it came down to the best voice I don't think many would deny that Anthony has probably the best voice of all Phantoms.


From Eponine700:
Michael Crawford will always be the best Phantom. Not only did he create the standard of the role, but pure to the Phantom's description in the original novel, his voice is soft and angelic, perhaps a touch feminine, and can at times become passionate and driving, while in addition he carries a certain gracefulness and smoothness of movement about him unmatched by subsequent Phantoms. His name will always coincide with that of Andrew Lloyd Webber's best musical, the Phantom of the Opera.


From Shannon Schmidt:
To whom it may concern, I have been very upset with the news that Antonio Banderas may actually get the part of the phantom in the movie. Having been lucky enough to be able to see him in concert in Houston and Dallas I can certainly attest to the fact that this man is absolutely incredible. There are not enough words in the english vocabulary to make anyone understand the magnitude of this man if you have not witnessed it first hand. I have over the years heard the fantastic recordings of Michael in Phantom but to hear it in the concert with him almost literally becoming the Phantom was by far the most fabulous thing i have ever gotten the priveledge to see. There is by far no other phantom.MICHAEL CRAWFORD YOU ARE THE ONE AND ONLY PHANTOM!!!!!!! I could bear to see no other in this movie so if anyone other than Michael is cast my ticket will never be bought. Warner Brothers take note you are upsetting a magnitude of fans. This does not even begin to touch all the fans out there for this man. If you only knew you would never consider anyone else. PLEASE TAKE NOTE!!!!!


From demey:
Michael Crawford has and always will define the role of the Phantom. There is NO OTHER PERSON who can do it as well.


From Neil Hunt:
Colm Wilkinson -the best voiced Phantom ever-. Although Antonio was great in Evita, he seemed made for Evita, not for Phantom. Michael Crawford seems like the Phantom, but although I'm sure Colm won't do it, there's no one I'd rather see than him. After that, give it to Crawford. Actually, give it to Crawford anyway because he has a loyal following and, let's face it, IS Webber's Phantom. So I suppose I'm pulling for Crawford, but I'm giving my vote to Colm Wilkinson....if that makes any sense.


From DAkerland:
As someone who has seen Phantom 5 times (with three different actors) there is only one choice as to who could play the role in the movie version --Michael Crawford. I have played the soundtrack to Phantom hundreds of time,I can imagine no other voice in the movie than that of Michael Crawford's. When I first heard the rumors regarding Antonio Banderas I thought it was a joke (almost as big as the rumor regarding John Travolta). Fans all over the world paid serious money to see Michael Crawford play the Phantom on stage. Does anyone have any doubt they would pay $8 to see him in the movie version, over and over. If they end up making the movie with another actor, I'll pass. I would rather keep my theatre memories.


From William McGinity:
I don't believe anyone out there can capture the exquisite beauty and turmoil that Michael Crawford brought to his PHANTOM. Everyone who has seen the show knows his voice from the original soundtrack and although we accept others in the role in theatres, we will NOT in cinemas.


From Wendi Swanlund:
I must join the thoughtful majority... Michael Crawford!!! How many times must we go through this question of whether the Broadway stars can carry a theatrical movie? Too many times we have seen some of the best actors denied roles they originated because they were only known as stage actors. To compound the errors, how many times did they then lip-sinc to pre-recorded voices? A great actor IS A GREAT ACTOR!!! For those who do not know, while Michael Crawford IS THE PHANTOM, he is so much more: His talents have blessed radio, TV comedy & drama, 15movies, and 20 theatrical productions BEFORE Phantom. What more does a talented, dedicated professional have to do????
The theatre is a wonderful LIVE experience, but one that many cannot enjoy because of where they live, or cannot afford. Look at that vast audience that now and in the future deserves to see a DEFINING ROLE/PERFORMANCE such as Michael Crawford's that can be - MUST BE - captured and cherished on film, the media of the masses.


From Noell Everhart:
My personal choice is Michael Crawford. How ever, if Mr Crawford is not chosen than it should be one who has played the part on stage.


From Josh:
I believe the only relevent role as the Phantom is Michael Crawford. He is the original Phantom from the London cast, and the best there is. He is used to this Phantom business!


From Wilke Eichler:
I think it should be Colm Wilkinson. To me, he was the best phantom actor ever. He is a kind of father figure, furtthermore, in my opinion A. Banderas is far too young. And the very question that strikes me: How will they ever manage to get Banderas sing the songs? He had already difficulties as Che (cf. the recording), the phantom part is even harder to sing.


From TTidw27851:
MIchael Crawford is the ONLY choice for the lead role in the Phantom of the Opera movie. Banderas can't even speak English well enough, and his role in Evita was pathetic. Couldn't the producers afford anyone better?


From Donna Isler:
There is no other who should play the Phantom but Michael Crawford.
Michael Crawford's great portrayal of the Phantom should be recorded on film. His is the definitive phantom against whom all other performances are measured. To choose a younger film actor with a more marketable name is to insult the audience and deny them the best! And besides....let's consider THE VOICE! Christine is compelled and bewitched only by the phantom's voice at first. Where is this soaring, mellifluous voice going to come from if not from Michael Crawford? Who cares if he is 56? 56 looks great on him, his voice is in top form, and besides, he's behind a mask anyway.....
Would the studio sell out the whole movie just to hire a big film hunk so they can attract a few more people who don't know any better? The handsome face will be behind a mask the whole time, anyway, and the voice won't be there.
Come on, Hollywood.......you've got the greatest Phantom there ever was or will be in Michael Crawford. Let those of us who have only heard the soundtrack and never got to London, NY or LA see this remarkable performance. Get a big name Christine if you must.....but give us Michael!!!!!!!


From PastelGirl:
Michael Crawford is obviously the best choice for the role of the phantom in the upcoming movie. There's no way Antonio Banderas can do it. A Spanish accented phantom? Come on people! Who's idea was that? Michael Crawford has the best voice and has performed in over 1300 performances of Phantom. He's won awards, including that Tony for Best Actor, and I think he'd give an Oscar worthy performance in the POTO movie.


From P Phatsaphaphone:
Anybody except Antiono Banderas. Why? Because he cannot sing. Yes, he is not tune deaf but the Phantom needs a beautiful and powerful voice to pull off. Anybody except Antoino Banderas: Colm Wilkinson, Anthony Warlow, or the one and only Phantom Michael Crawford would be such a finer choice. Not finer, BETTER choice.


From SYRN30:
I completely support M.C. as the only choice for the movie role as the Phantom of the Opera. when will this movie ever start production?


From Ben Nardy:
If all thing is being considered, they have to cast Peter Karrie as the Phantom. Yes it's true that Michael Crawford was the first and perhaps the most famous phantom, but Peter Karrie is the phantom of the opera.


From Selina Shek:
Michael Crawford is the only man that can play & be the "Phantom of the Opera" with the voice, feeling, & dimension the character so deeply deserves. Anyone else would be a poor, disappointing imitation.


From Stephanie Plumb:
Michael Crawford, BIG TIME!!! If you read this page, you'll find that for every person that doesn't want Crawford in the movie, there are fifty that do!!! Could we make it anymore obvious, Warner Brothers??? The public wants MICHAEL CRAWFORD!!!!!!! Who cares if Antonio Banderas is good looking??? He'd be wearing disgusting make up, a mask, and layers of black clothing!!! Once all that is on, he's gonna have NOTHING to portray the Phantom! And if you'll recall, after Phantom opened, Michael Crawford became an international sex symbol so casting Antonio Banderas in the movie isn't gonna bring a thing to it!!!!!!!


From Patty SKALISK:
There is only one Phantom and he is Michael Crawford. There is only one Michael Crawford, and he is the Phantom. I listen to my C.D. frequently and there just isn't anyone else who can play the part as well, or sing with such clarity and meaning, the marvelous words that Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote. It is indeed a marriage of two extremely talented people.


From Loel Rosenberry:
Michael Crawford is the definitive Phantom. I have seen Phantom around the world a dozen times, but never was fortunate to catch Michael in the role. I have been hoping for years to at least have a POTO movie with him as the Phantom. Everyone knows that "big name" stars do not necessarily ensure a financial and critical success. Give the public what they want - a chance to see Michael as the Phantom. I have no intention of spending money to see Banderas in the role.


From Jean Casano:
Definately O'Leary who is presently playing Phantom on Broadway and can take your breath away with his passionate style and vocal abilities. We saw it 3 times and it still isn't enough.


From DUSTIN INGALLS:
Of course, Michael Crawford; like you even had to ask. But if the shmancy-fancy Hollywood bigwigs want a top acting name, then they can cast Gary Oldman (Air Force One, Lost in Space, the Fifth Element) as Erik; he can act like a genius, and if he can get singing lessons so he sings as soaringly and powerfully as MC, then he's their man. He is usually a villain, but he acts demented and loving at the same time as he hijacks the Pres's plane, like POTO has to be. Other choices are Ralph Fiennes or Liam Neeson, both from Schindler's List. Great actors.


From Whiterose:
MICHAEL CRAWFORD all the way!!! He is the ORIGINAL Phantom and should stay the Phantom! If they are worried about having a big name for the role, they should stop before casting away MC. He IS a big name, contrary to popular belief. Granted John Travolta is a bigger name, but does he also have the talent and experience of Michael? NO! Truth is, very few men have both. Out of those few, MC is the only one with a big name.


From Pamela Oertly:
PLEASE! MICHAEL CRAWFORD is the only sane choice for the Phantom movie. His voice is as pure and strong today as it was when he played Erik on Broadway. He was an unknown when he was picked to play Erik on Broadway and yet he drew people by the thousands. It was Michael who made the Phantom of the Opera musical such an astounding success. What makes Warner Brothers think that Crawford wouldn't do the same thing on film? Make it with Crawford and "they will come!" Crawford IS the Phantom....Music of the Night is HIS song and only he can sing it the way it was meant to be sung. And his body language...the way he uses his hands...is hypnotic. He makes his viewers see beyond the mask and ugliness and into his very soul. He breaks your heart. Anyone else playing the Phantom would be a travesty and would produce "just another forgetable movie." With Crawford in the role, you would have a CLASSIC, that would live for many, many generations. Wake up, Warner Brothers, give Bonderas (or whatever his name is) the role of Raoul and cast as the Phantom the man who was born for the roll - Michael Crawford.


From Babybway86:
Will all of you lay off Michael Crawford. Sure he did a good job as Phantom, but that was almost 5 years ago. I think that you should concentrate on actual rock stars like Jon Bon Jovi or Sting or Bryan Adams. I think Banderas is not fit for the role, but lay off Michael Crawford.


From Keiningham:
For me, as for so many others, Michael Crawford is THE Phantom. He created the role, for which he received several awards, including the Tony. Since he played that character for 3 and a half years, he knows what kind of work, emotion and expression has to be done to bring that figure to life. His incredible voice, acting abilities and emotional strength that he puts into this role are unbeatable. His name is so connected with the musical, that this automatically defeats the argument, he is not a big enough movie star. The musical is extremely famous, and even people who haven't seen it, will go see the movie, especially when the advertisement says "with the original phantom". He originally was promised the role, when the movie was first discussed and to now back out on that promise - for very weak reasons - is utterly unfair.


From Diane McKay:
I am writing this in support of Michael Crawford being cast as the Phantom of the Opera in the upcoming movie. I do so because of my firm belief that no other performer can give the role the sensitivity and respect that it deserves. For three and a half years this man thrilled audiences nightly in the stage production. When Michael Crawford plays the phantom, he is the phantom. His transformation into the role can be clearly seen and felt as this extraordinary actor shows us the true meaning of "perfection" in portraying this tortured and sensitive soul. This role ultimately resulted in his winning the coveted Tony Award for "Best Actor in a Musical" in 1988. There is no doubt in my mind that the audiences of today will feel that same magic emanating from the 'big screen' with Michael Crawford in the title role. Casting a "mega-watt" movie star of today for a part that is truly Michael Crawford's is a mistake. I will not see the movie unless Mr. Crawford stars in the role of Eric. I truly hope the world will not be denied the opportunity of re-living the wonderful story of the Phantom of the Opera as seen through the eyes of the original, the most beloved and the only phantom... Michael Crawford.


From Inner FM:
My choice without doubt would be Michael Crawford. This man has already proved that he can handle the vocal side of this role. Add to this his acting ability and it makes the choice obvious, to me at least.


From Valerie Poole:
MICHAEL CRAWFORD all the way!!! He is the ORIGINAL Phantom and should stay the Phantom! If they are worried about having a big name for the role, they should stop before casting away MC. He IS a big name, contrary to popular belief. Granted John Travolta is a bigger name, but does he also have the talent and experience of Michael? NO! Truth is, very few men have both. Out of those few, MC is the only one with a big name.


From Darlee2:
My vote for the Phantom in the upcoming movie is Michael Crawford. I am very amused by the comments "he is too old for the role" - who cares how old he is. The fact is, when he performs the POTO music, he becomes the Phantom and truly captivates his audience.


From Rick Harris:
This note is more a vote against Banderas than a vote for anyone else. Antonio does not have the strong voice, and the accent will not fit the part of Erik. Warner Bros. is viewing this movie the same way Evita was viewed ("let's make a movie" instead of "Let's make a move version of a musical"), and we all know what happened to Evita (can you say FLOP?). You have to look back many years to find a very good movie version of a musical.... Hello Dolly ... Oklahoma ... Showboat ... South Pacific.
Let me put it very simply: ATTENTION Warner Bros. I, nor my family, nor anyone else I can convince, will spend 1 dime to see POTO if Antonio Banderas is cast as the lead.
As for who "should" play the lead, I think Michael Crawford would be the obvious choice, but there are other very strong leads that have and can sing the part quite well. The most important consideration needs to be the singing. There are MANY actors who could sell the speaking parts of Erik, but this is supposed to be a film version of the musical, not just another movie.

From Craig Brockman:
Ok...I have read a few responses to this question and I must say that from all I read...MICHAEL CRAWFORD has NO interest in playing the Phantom role in the movie because he wants to MOVE ON...anyway...that being said....I think there are a few people I could see playing this role, namely Anthony Warlowe, Robert Cuccioli, Michael Ball, and Philip Quast. Also...not totally serious here...but how about Scott Bakula????


From ADRIAN BARLOW:
In response to the poll, either Colm Wilkinson or Michael Crawford should be cast but definaltley NOT Antonio Banderas anybody who saw his 'performance' on ALW birthday bash will soon realise, he couldn't even prounounce Phantom!!!! The Phantom is a challenging role and must not be cast lightly but maybe Warner Bros know best, which I doubt. A good Raoul would be Michael Ball or the current UK tour Raoul Matthew Cammelle.


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