But at least some fans are unhappy about it, and have launched an online campaign to stop it.
The Save Phantom From Hollywood website and Diane Flogerzi’s Phantom Movie Page website, which have been campaigning against the previous leading contender, John Travolta, have fixed their sights on Banderas, whom the sites say is not up to the role.
Phantom of the Opera purists have insisted from the beginning that only original stage Phantom Michael Crawford would be acceptable in the film role.
The heavily accented Banderas, who played Che in the 1996 film of Evita opposite Madonna, was identified by The New York Times, April 10, as the leading contender for the role. The story quoted unnamed Warner executives as its source, and was unable to confirm the rumor with Lloyd Webber or Warner. As Playbill On-Line reported April 8, Banderas was tapped to sing “Music of the Night” from Phantom at Lloyd Webber’s 50th birthday concert at Royal Albert Hall in London April 7. The Banderas-as-Erik rumor had been building in the weeks leading up to the concert.
The “Save Phantom” website gives directions on how to petition Lloyd Webber and Warner Bros to change the casting. The Times said the Phantom film is on a “fast track” at the film studio, but gave no release date.
The stage musical The Phantom of the Opera continues its run in London, New York and on tour globally.