Who could have predicted that Phantom of the Opera would suddenly enjoy a spike in popularity this fall? First, we heard that Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry was working on a sexy, musical spin set in the “cutthroat world of the modern-day music business” for ABC, which has been looking for a musical drama to pair with Nashville. And now, an immediately much more interesting project, based more on Gaston Leroux’s novel than the Andrew Lloyd Webber play, has emerged, with French auteur Jean-Pierre Jeunet at the helm.
Jeunet, the director behind such instant classics as Delicatessen, Amelie and City of Lost Children, will develop a Phantom of the Opera series for Endemol Studios, Variety reports. Producer Tony Krantz (NBC’s Dracula, Mulholland Drive), who recently sold his WWII drama spec script Saboteurs to eOne Television, is providing the script.
Krantz’s script is set in 1919 and features “a British WWI fighter pilot suffering from burns over most of his body.” Deadline adds that the Phantom of the Opera take is being imagined as “a drama brimming with tortured love affairs, sex, murder and mystery among the international jet set at the dawn of the Jazz Age.” Additionally, the opera in question is more of a nightclub, and a chanteuse-esque singer becomes the Phantom’s main target.
Jeunet released a statement about the project, saying:
“I look forward to directing Tony Krantz’s imaginative version of Phantom of the Opera with Endemol Studios. We have an opportunity to re-tell Gaston Leroux’s classic novel of mystery and intriguing romance against a background of great social change.”
Jeunet has established himself as one of the most artistic and distinctive filmmakers out there today, so his involvement in this project is definitely cause for excitement.
If you need a refresher on Leroux’s novel, the official synopsis from Penguin Books is below. Check it out and let us know, are you looking forward to the director’s sure-to-be weird take on Phantom of the Opera? Or are you more excited about Cherry’s ABC modernization?
Rumours that a ghost stalks the dark passages and cellars of the Paris Opera House, wreaking havoc, have long been rife among staff and performers. This Phantom also haunts the imagination of the beautiful and talented singer Christine Daaé, appearing to her as the ‘Angel of Music’ – a disembodied voice, coaching her to sing as she never could before. When Christine is courted by a handsome young Viscount, the mysterious spectre, who resides in the murky depths of the building, is consumed by jealousy and seeks revenge. With its pervading atmosphere of menace, tinged with dark humour, The Phantom of the Opera (1910) offers a unique mix of Gothic horror and tragic romance that has inspired film, stage and literature since its publication.