Emmy Rossum - Star of the MTV Generation!
“Casting the part of the gifted young chorus girl Christine Daae proved to be another challenge for the filmmakers, as the character calls for an actress who can exude a genuine innocence yet command a sophisticated vocal prowess. As Schumacher prepared to screen test a handful of potential Christines, he met with Emmy Rossum, a then-sixteen year-old actress who delivered a memorable performance as Sean Penn's murdered daughter in the Oscar winning drama Mystic River, and played the young Audrey Hepburn in ABC's 2000 telefilm The Audrey Hepburn Story.
"Lightning struck when we found Emmy," Schumacher enthuses. "Not only is she an exquisite actress, but Emmy has trained at the Metropolitan Opera since she was seven. She came in at the last second and almost didn't screen test because she had to go to a family reunion in Las Vegas. I had to talk her out of it!"
"We met on a Thursday, and Joel said 'Can you be in New York on Saturday for a screen test?'" recalls Rossum, who had just wrapped her starring role in the disaster epic The Day After Tomorrow. "Then about a week later I went to sing for Andrew at his house, which was very nerve-wracking! I was warming up with the accompanist when Andrew walked into the room, sat down without introducing himself and said 'Shall we?'"
As she proved at her audition, "Emmy has got a fantastic voice," Lloyd Webber attests.
To prepare for her role, Rossum took dance lessons, toured the famed Garnier Opera House in Paris, on which the Opera Populaire is loosely based, and visited the Musée D'Orsay to study Degas' paintings and sculptures of ballerinas, many of which were based on the dancers from the Garnier Opera company. "The biggest challenge for me was finding a balance between my voice and my acting," Rossum says. "It was important that my acting be at the same level as it would be in a normal film, so I had to find a place at which my voice and my acting meshed in a way that felt natural."
She is the antithesis of the eternal graduate student, though one suspects she will be learning for the rest of her life! She was spectacular! And that means this film is the perfect introduction to opera for the MTV generation. It is sung in beautifully enunciated English so there is no need for subtitles. It is shot through close ups so there is no need for opera glasses. It is full of visual images, since that is how the MTVers input information. A perfect training tool! And as a benefit, Miss Rossum is the perfect training tool for your aimless, preening, full of self-esteem teenager. What are YOU going to be when you grow up? As an adult, you enjoy it just as much as the kids. Go to see it!