A new, more contemporary take on the classic gothic tale The Phantom of the Opera is now in development courtesy of screenwriter Anthony McCarten and his Muse Of Fire Productions. The project has been described as a psychological thriller “in the vein of Black Swan and Misery” and will be based on the 1910 novel Le Fantome de L’Opera by Gaston Leroux. The movie is simply called Phantom.
Other details have revealed that this take on the famous story will be “set in London’s contemporary music scene. Leroux’s depiction of a destructive relationship remains, as will a dark love story, but the movie intends to upend the romanticism associated with previous interpretations, and instead lean into the suspense and horror that was a big part of the book.”
“The basic idea that lured me in was the chance to brush the cobwebs off a 110-year-old tale, and return it to its roots in suspense and horror,” Anthony McCarten described of the film. “It will be a contemporary version of story, incorporate contemporary themes, and a new musical soundtrack drawing on some of the biggest recording talent.”
He continued, revealing that the movie will do away with some of the more iconic elements that The Phantom of the Opera has become known for. “You’re aware of everyone on the list, they are multi-Grammy-winning artists,” McCarten said. “We’re aiming to do something quite ground-breaking with music and the score, and something that may also be new for the artists themselves. We’ll reinvent this story for a new generation free from Gothic romantic period trappings. Our phantom is not offering anyone singing lessons, and there is no gondolier with a mask.”
The source novel is partly inspired by historical events at the Paris Opera during the nineteenth century, and is set in the 1880s, in Paris, at the Palais Garnier Opera House which is believed to be haunted by an entity known as the Phantom of the Opera, or simply the Opera Ghost. The classic tale has since been successfully adapted into various stage and big screen adaptations, most notable of which are the 1925 movie featuring Lon Chaney, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical, itself of which received a direct movie adaptation in 2004 directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Gerard Butler as the Phantom.
McCarten is of course aware of audience’s familiarity with The Phantom of the Opera and is eager to take the story back to its horror movie roots, with plans to stick closer to the atmosphere of the novel. “It’s a bit like taking an old piece of furniture and stripping off the layers of paint, back to the original grain,” the writer described of his take on the material. “It’s back to the much scarier, horror suspense roots that were in the book. With this version of the tale, we aim to bring a more psychological lens to the questions of what may, and may not, be real; and to who and what we can be.”
The Phantom of the Opera is in very safe hands with McCarten, having been nominated for four Oscars, most recently for The Two Popes. He has several other major releases to his name including The Theory of Everything, The Darkest Hour, and Bohemian Rhapsody. This comes to us courtesy of Deadline.