Movie Article

Behind the Music

A sneak peek at ''Phantom of the Opera'' -- Here's how filmmakers brought Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage classic to the big screen

Emmy Rossum, The Phantom of the Opera (Movie - 2004)
Image credit: The Phantom of the Opera: Alex Bailey

''We tried to make it all a bit theatrical,'' says production designer Anthony Pratt of the screen version of The Phantom of the Opera. ''Nothing is meant to be terribly real.'' Real? No. Over-the-top lavish? Absolutely. Set in a haunted Paris opera house, the movie is a vision of romantic splendor. To create this scene, where songbird Christine (Emmy Rossum) visits the grave of her father, Pratt drew from two of the world's most ornate cemeteries: Paris' Pàre Lachaise and Montparnasse. He filled a London soundstage with nearly 30 fiberglass statues, some towering as high as 16 feet. ''The proportions were so that Christine would be a tiny, innocent figure [among] these cold stones,'' says director Joel Schumacher. ''It's so elegant — like out of a Sargent painting.'' The solemn scene is one of the few to take place outside the theater walls, and, Schumacher adds, ''the only time Christine wears black.'' Costume designer Alexandra Byrne chose the heroine's silk-velvet dress and taffeta cape because she ''wanted something soft and fluid that worked with the snow.'' The clean silhouette sure made her blood-red bouquet pop. ''It's all shameless,'' laughs Schumacher. ''The whole thing.''

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