I’ve been listening to this pretty fantastic Spotify playlist I made – Show Tunes Galore! – and “The Phantom of the Opera” from the movie version of The Phantom of the Opera came on. I still remember seeing this movie with Heidi back when it first came out. If I recall correctly, it was her idea as The Phantom of the Opera is one of those musicals that I’ve always been a little bit more than meh on. I ended up enjoying the movie more than I expected. I wasn’t overly familiar with the music except for “All I Ask of You” and, of course, the fantastically bombastic title song. The film version starred Gerard Butler as the Phantom and Emmy Rossum as Christine. It’s always such a risk to cast actors not necessarily known for their vocal prowess in musicals. It’s one of those things – most people can act or sing, but not both. Surprisingly, Emmy Rossum is pretty strong on her vocals, but Gerard Butler? Lord. I mean really, who told him he could sing? His part starts at about a minute in.
He sings like someone out at karaoke night struggling to hit the notes, but I have to admit that watching that clip makes me want to rip that movie to my iPad so I can watch it right fucking now, it’s so bad, it’s glorious. And really, the highlight of the film is Minnie Driver as the diva Carlotta, even though it wasn’t her voice singing all that opera.
Better luck was had casting Antonio Banderas in Evita. Who knew he could sing? His version of Che sounds like Neil Diamond with an accent, especially at the “falling over ourselves to get all/Of the misery right!” part. (the video’s vocals are inexplicably sped up a little bit, but you can still get the idea.)
There’s no doubt there was vocal tweaking involved, and in the case of Gerard Butler, wow – he still didn’t sound very good. And we know that Antonio’s sorta famous female costar has never had any *ahem* vocal help, like, ever.
Still, there’s no denying that the winner of the “actor who sings” award goes to the multi-talented Ewan McGregor, and one of only a few famous people my wife might ever leave me for. It is also the only one of these songs for which YouTube doesn’t have the actual movie scene, so you’ll have to settle for this.
Finally, here’s a link to the Spotify playlist that started this nonsense in the first place.