Toward the end of October we learned that ABC is working on a “contemporary reimagining” of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera novel set in the world of the modern-day music business, and now comes word that a second TV series is in the works. Per Deadline this latest one will be written by Tony Krantz (“24,” Otis), directed by French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie), and produced by Endemol Studios (“Hell on Wheels”), the Los Angeles-based studio operation of Endemol North America.
Krantz of Flame Ventures and Jeunet will serve as executive producers along with Colin Callender of Playground Entertainment. Drew Comins, EVP of Flame Ventures, will serve as co-executive producer on the series.
Also based on the novel by Leroux, this version will keep the Paris setting but move the time frame from the 19th century to the early 20th century. Described as “a drama brimming with tortured love affairs, sex, murder, and mystery among the international jet set at the dawn of the Jazz Age,” Krantz’s “Phantom of the Opera” series begins in 1919 against a backdrop of the Paris Peace Conference.
The story centers on a British World War I fighter pilot with burns covering half of his body. He finds himself at the center of a string of murders that threatens to embroil the city’s gathered world leaders. The “Opera” of the title is an opera house that is home to the hottest nightclub in Paris — a la Studio 54 — whose American Josephine Baker-esque headliner finds herself in the crosshairs of the serial killer.
“As we enjoy working with Tony on a number of projects, I was delighted to discover that the man can really write!” said Endemol Studios EVP Creative Affairs Jeremy Gold. “Rife with vibrant characters and the seductive culture of 1919 Paris, Tony’s ‘Phantom’ drops us in a provocative world filled with love and loss, secrets, lies, and murder.”
Krantz worked on his script with Endemol over the summer, revising it substantially. About four weeks ago, the finished script was sent out to one director only: Amelie visionary Jeunet. “Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a brilliant director, and his films are true masterpieces,” Krantz said. “The opportunity to write and produce a story of love, murder, and intrigue at the dawn of the New World, interpreted through the eyes of such a master, is quite simply anyone’s dream come true.”
The project will mark Jeunet’s first TV directing effort. “I look forward to directing Tony Krantz’s imaginative version of Phantom of the Opera with Endemol Studios,” Jeunet said. “We have an opportunity to re-tell Gaston Leroux’s classic novel of mystery and intriguing romance against a background of great social change.”
“Phantom of the Opera is one of the most successful pieces of entertainment of all time that has been produced in multiple forms for fans across the globe,” Endemol Studios CEO Philippe Maigret said. “Our combination of exceptional creative talent, complex characters, and a wonderfully re-told narrative will produce a new canvas for a story that has crossed all borders and stood the test of time.”