Driver, known for such films as "An Ideal Husband," "Good Will Hunting" and "Circle of Friends," is expected to play the opera house diva driven mad by the brilliant soprano, Christine. Playbill On-Line previously reported 16-year-old Emmy Rossum will play Christine opposite 33-year-old Scottish actor Gerard Butler as The Phantom.
As previously announced, Broadway favorite Patrick Wilson rounds out the trio of leads as Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny. It's a busy time for Wilson, who received Tony nominations for his work in Oklahoma! and The Full Monty. The young actor will also star in HBO's six-hour adaptation of Tony Kushner's Angels in America as well as the Disney historical drama The Alamo." Wilson will play military commander William Travis in the latter, opposite Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid.
Really Useful Films announced June 13 that Rossum will play opera singer Christine Daae, whose voice is inspired by the Phantom. Already an acclaimed opera singer, Rossum has been performing with the Metropolitan Opera since the age of seven. She appeared in the television productions "The Audrey Hepburn Story," "Songcatcher" and "An American Rhapsody" and was recently seen in Clint Eastwood's "Mystic River" at the Cannes Film Festival.
Gerard Butler, who will play the title role, created on stage in London and on Broadway by Tony Award winner Michael Crawford. Butler began his career on the stage opposite Ewan McGregor in the stage adaptation of "Trainspotting." His feature-film credits include "Mrs. Brown," "Tomorrow Never Dies," "Dracula 2000" and "Reign of Fire." Joel Schumacher will direct the feature-film version of Lloyd Webber's musical, which begins principal photography Sept. 15 at the Pinewood Studios in the U.K. Lloyd Webber recently bought the Phantom film rights back from Warner Bros., although Warner Bros. will distribute the film in North America; Entertainment Film Distributors will distribute the film in the U.K. with Odyssey International handling international sales.
About the upcoming movie, composer Lloyd Webber said in a statement, "From the beginning Joel and I always wanted a young and relatively unknown cast. Given his track record for discovering stars such as Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland and Colin Farrell, who am I to argue with him?"
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.
Hugh Panaro currently heads the Broadway company as the disfigured Phantom who falls in love with a naive chorus girl, Christine Daae.