New Phantom of the Opera Adaptation Being Developed With John Legend Producing

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One of the earliest members of the iconic roster of Universal Monsters was the Phantom of the Opera, thanks to a 1925 adaptation of the 1910 novel Le Fant?me de l’Op?ra, though the concept is more recently tied into the realm of musicals, a spirit that will be embraced for a new adaptation of the property from producers John Legend, Harvey Mason Jr, and Mike Jackson. Deadline notes that the script for the project comes from John Fusco, who previously wrote films like Crossroads and Hidalgo, with the project being inspired by his own personal visit to New Orleans, where this new movie will take place.

“I was in New Orleans with [Kevin] Costner, Woody [Harrelson], and John Lee Hancock and found myself reconnecting with my old musical haunts, and the next generation of my music cronies,” Fusco shared with the outlet. “I began playing with them again, writing music, and recorded two albums and during the pandemic I reflected on that journey and wanted to bring the screenwriting together with the songwriting and that music with a full-out movie musical.”

He continued, “This is set in the sultry nightlife scene of modern-day New Orleans, the world of jazz, R&B, neo-Soul, and funk. The French Quarter, where New Orleans is not only known as America’s most haunted city, but the music, French Creole culture, the voodoo mystique, masquerade pageantry of Mardi Gras, just lent itself to a natural adaptation of the Paris setting, and a story that has revenge, unrequited love, and mystery.”

The original story explores an old opera house that is known to be haunted by a phantom, who causes a number of mysterious and dangerous incidents, up until a beautiful new singer arrives, in which a series of events allows her to climb the ranks to become the opera’s major star.

With the novel being part of the public domain, it has been adapted in a variety of forms over the past century, with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical adaptation being arguably the definitive take on the material. Since that musical’s debut in 1986, it has been adapted all across the world, with 2004’s cinematic adaptation starring Gerard Butler, Patrick Wilson, and Emmy Rossum being one of the last major attempts at translating the concept to the big screen.

In 2017, Universal Pictures announced their plans for the Dark Universe, which would be a series of reboots reviving their iconic roster of monsters, which was set to include a new Phantom of the Opera. Following the critical and financial disappointment of the debut entry, The Mummy, all plans for the Dark Universe have been delayed indefinitely or scrapped entirely.

Stay tuned for details on the new The Phantom of the Opera.

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