A little-known Scottish actor and a 16-year-old American rookie will take the leading roles in the film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber musical PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.

Gerard Butler, 33 - once considered a contender for the James Bond role - and New York opera singer Emmy Rossum are poised to portray the Phantom and CHRISTINE, respectively, in the Joel Schumacher epic.

Bosses on the film - adapted from the popular stage musical - were determined to land a relatively unknown cast for the major roles.

Lloyd Webber explains, "From the beginning Joel and I always wanted a young and relatively unknown cast. Given his track record for discovering stars such as Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland and Colin Farrell, who am I to argue with him?"

Pre-production is due to commence in September (03).

13/06/2003 17:26