Websites have been abuzz -- and aflame -- with the rumor that Warner Brothers has asked John Travolta to star in its upcoming film of The Phantom Of The Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber's megamusical still on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre.
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.
But checks by Playbill On-Line show the protests maybe premature. A spokesperson at Warner Brothers told Playbill On-Line the project was too early in development to be commented upon. The Rogers & Cowen office, speaking for Travolta, would not confirm the rumor. Another source close to the actor said the answer would come in a few weeks, but it was looking "more and more unlikely" the deal would go through. 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."
Here are some Phantom oriented websites for those interested in pursuing the issue further: