16 years on from Joel Schumacher’s 2004 take on The Phantom of the Opera, Universal may be going back to the property for another musical adaptation. Sources close to WGTC – the same ones who told us National Treasure 3 and Now You See Me 3 were in the works months before they were announced – say that there’s a reboot of the story in development at Universal and we have a few interesting details on how it’ll differ quite drastically from previous takes on the material.
The most dramatic change is that the setting of the story will be updated from 19th century Paris to present-day New York. Despite that, the essence of the plot remains the same. At the core is the Phantom, who possesses physical and psychological capabilities well beyond that of a normal man and some form of telepathy. He was once displayed at sideshows as a disfigured freak, only for him to escape to the abandoned subway tunnels of the Big Apple. Here, his one solace is the music he hears coming from the Metropolitan Opera House.
But soon his sights fixate on talented yet disadvantaged soprano Christine, who the Phantom develops a telepathic link with and tries to draw her down into his murky world. If you’re familiar with the original story (or Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical), you can probably figure out how the rest goes.
The script is currently being worked on by The Girl in the Spider’s Web writer Jay Basu, who’s already credited with video game adaptation Metal Gear Solid and a remake of Labyrinth. We also have Chris Morgan and Alex Kurtzman locked in as producers (though you would think Kurtzman would have his hands busy with Star Trek right now). Everything else is hazy, though, as there’s no director attached and they don’t seem to be specifically targeting any stars for the lead roles yet.
Whether this new Phantom of the Opera emerges from development and makes it to screens or not, it certainly sounds like an interesting project. And, let’s face it, Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals could use a bit of rehabilitation after Cats.