Banderas To Play Star as 'Phantom'

In 1994's Interview With the Vampire, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas raised pulses with his portrayal of an opera-loving bloodsucker. Now well-established at the box office, Banderas — whose Spy Kids just topped the charts for the third consecutive weekend — will return as an opera-dwelling spook.

According to Britain's Daily Express tabloid, Banderas will portray the lead in a film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. The actor argues with fans who prefer the stage version's leading ghost, Michael Crawford, saying, "Michael Crawford, he made what actors call a creation, something that was his own, but what happens in the movies is not for an individual to decide.

"I am not the only actor," he continued. "If you said [the Phantom role] was going to John Travolta, not me, I would shrug and wait for another project."

And wait he may. Banderas and the rest of Hollywood are eyeballing a looming actors' strike that many fear could shut down the movie biz this summer.

Banderas' upcoming film, Original Sin, has been shuffled several times and will now bow on Aug. 3. The erotic thriller, written and directed by Michael Cristofer, also stars Angelina Jolie.

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