Could Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber feature in the new star-studded film version of 'The Phantom of the Opera'?

The film will be written by 'Bohemian Rhapsody's Anthony McLaren and produced by music mogul Scooter Braun

South Africa's Jonathan Roxmouth played the title role of 'The Phantom of the Opera' when the production came to Dubai Opera in 2019. Picture courtesy of Dubai Opera.
South Africa's Jonathan Roxmouth played the title role of 'The Phantom of the Opera' when the production came to Dubai Opera in 2019. Picture courtesy of Dubai Opera.

The Phantom of the Opera is set to be reimagined as a psychological thriller, featuring a cast of pop-stars.

A new version of the popular Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is in the works for the big screen, with music mogul Scooter Braun and Bohemian Rhapsody screenwriter Anthony McLaren behind the project.

The latter confirmed the venture to Deadline, expressing excitement at penning a script that would reinvigorate the century-old story.

The Phantom of the Opera is originally based on Gaston Leroux’s novel Phantom, first published in serialised form from 1909 to 1910.

“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 of suspense and horror," he said.

"It will be a contemporary version of story, incorporate contemporary themes, and a new musical soundtrack drawing on some of the biggest recording talent.”

A who’s who of the pop world to star

And this where Braun comes in.

As well as co-producing the film, he will dip into his client list, which includes the likes Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, J Balvin and Demi Lovato, to lend their vocal and screen talents.

While McLaren wouldn’t say which pop-stars are involved, expect chart-topping names.

“They are multi-Grammy winning artists,” he says.

“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.”

When it comes to his version of the star crossed tale between soprano Christine Daae, and the phantom lurking beneath the Paris Opera House, McLaren told Deadline the story will be more in line with the dark novel.

“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,” he says.

“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.”

With the news set to spark a guessing game on which star will sign up for the project – surely Grande is a shoe-in for the role of Christine Daae – one person we can comfortably predict not taking part is Taylor Swift.

The Grammy-Award winner is in a bitter feud with Braun after the latter sold the masters of Swift’s fist six albums in 2019, for a reported $300 million.

Angry at not being offered the chance to buy back her masters, Swift is in the process of re-recording and re-releasing all six albums.

The first of which, a new version of 2008 second album Fearless, now dubbed Fearless (Taylor's Version), was released in April.

The Phantom returns to The West End

Meanwhile in London, Phantom of the Opera will return to Her Majesty’s Theatre for a new West End run from July 27.

As well as the orchestra reportedly reduced from 27 to 14 musicians, the new shows will have Irish actor Killian Donnelly donning the mask of the phantom.

Published: May 22, 2021 05:35 PM

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