Favorite Phantoms


Favorite Phantoms

Postby Rose » Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:47 pm

Ok here's something to get everyone into the mood for the upcoming POTO marathon!

Who are your top 5 favorite Phantoms?

List each one and tell us why they are unique and special to you and why the actor knocked it out of the park... they can be from any POTO Movie or Stage Show (no book versions).

I also plan on doing a thread for Favorite Christine's as well, and maybe even Book Phantoms :)

I will post my own list shortly. :hmm:
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Re: Favorite Phantoms

Postby Godzuki » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:26 pm

Hey Rose!!! What a great way to start the new year!

I don't have 5 movie/stage phantoms but here are the ones that came to mind (I would definitely love to do a book phantoms list if you do that!):

1. Movie: GB (his angst, passion, presence, strength) he had my heart pounding!
2. Stage: Ramin K ( his connection with C, they so clearly loved each other, could see no one else but the other), he made me ache for them
3. TV: Charles Dance version of the Phantom. This one was more gentle and vulnerable than usually shown if you count other TV/movie phantoms IMO. I liked the building relationship between Erik/C (I forget if her name was the same in this version), that she felt she had to be honest with him. Their final singing together was very passionate and moving and said so much to me about their relationship
4. Ben Lewis, the P from the movie/recording of LND. He was so intense and powerful and passionate, yet so vulnerable at the same time. His love/hope for his son was so moving and I adored BAMS, it was a dream come true with them openly admitting the depth of their feelings for each other

Hmmmm did I forget some? Will have to think on this!

To me other phantoms are interesting, but none come close to the ones above

I know we share many of the same faves, but very curious what you all have to say!
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Re: Favorite Phantoms

Postby Rose » Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:07 pm

We think alike Godzuki :) although my order is a little different then yours.

Ok brace yourself this is going to be long and I'll probably do one whole post for each actor since I'm in the mood to talk. :P

First off what do I feel indicates a successful performance of the character of Erik?

Well there are many things and no doubt an important one is that the actor can capture Erik's vulnerability successfully. I want to feel his pain, see that underneath his facade is a lost and damaged soul aching for love. This is very important indeed, it's what makes Erik sympathetic and if we never get to see his vulnerability then we can never sympathize with him and his plight.

But something else that I think is equally important when I sit down to watch a new actor take on the part of Erik is can he enchant me like Christine...can he make me feel the same things that Christine is feelings?

The first time we see him I want to be awed, I want to be mesmerized by his aura, his POWER...I want to be in that same state of rapture that Christine is in throughout POTO and MOTN, or when she first meets him...I feel this is vital to any successful performance of the Phantom.

Many actors can show vulnerability but I'm not so sure that every actor can mesmerize, hypnotize, capture that aura of POWER that Erik is suppose to have...many have tried and failed.

If an actor can suck you in as well as Christine...then you KNOW he's captured Erik's spirit successfully.

And I've seen my fair share of actors on stage who despite their lovely voices...have failed to capture Erik's power and hypnotic effect and once I start checking my watch instead of watching the performance then everything's ruined.

1) Gerry Butler

Will forever be MY Phantom, no matter how many actors I see play this part...Gerry will always be my #1.

He had no trouble capturing Erik's power as well as his vulnerability, I could talk forever on why I feel he did this better then any other actor I've ever seen play the part. But I'll just say that even when his Erik was at his most commanding you could still see the pain in his eyes. It's amazing to me but Gerry's MOTN is hard to watch sometimes because I just want to HUG him so badly he looks so tormented and vulnerable.

Gerry actually made MOTN...a song where Erik is suppose to be enchanting, seducing, entrancing Christine...into a heartbreaking plea for love...which to be honest is how I feel the song SHOULD be sung/played!

During POTO we should only see Erik at his controlling/powerful/manipulative best. He leads Christine by the hand/arm down to his lair and we should feel his danger and unpredictability...and be thrilled by it like Christine is *wink*.

BUT once we get to MOTN the metaphorical mask should come off and we should see into his soul, and into his heart. Their should be a contrast from one song/scene to the other and sadly I've seen too many actors on stage play Erik as the master manipulator leading vulnerable little Christine around on a leash throughout this scene which I feel wrecks the power of this song completely.

YES Erik is seducing Christine in this song, but he's also getting seduced back by her as well...that's what makes MOTN so delicious to the audience is that we can SEE what Christine in her innocence CANNOT see.

We can see Erik's inexperience, we can see her affect on him, eliminate all of this and you eliminate why MOTN is THE LOVE SONG of POTO! There is a reason this song (along with POTO) is the most iconic part of the show. Mention POTO to some girl on the street and no doubt they'll talk about MOTN...they'll never talk about AIAOY.

That's why I talk about this scene because it best showcases both Erik's power as well as his vulnerability and if an actor can pull this moment off with flying colors like Gerry then you KNOW they are the best of the best.

And Gerry is the best of the best for me. ;)

#2 Coming next!
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Re: Favorite Phantoms

Postby Godzuki » Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:32 pm

Rose wrote:
The first time we see him I want to be awed, I want to be mesmerized by his aura, his POWER...I want to be in that same state of rapture that Christine is in throughout POTO and MOTN, or when she first meets him...I feel this is vital to any successful performance of the Phantom.

Many actors can show vulnerability but I'm not so sure that every actor can mesmerize, hypnotize, capture that aura of POWER that Erik is suppose to have...many have tried and failed.
great point, I love how he steals, nay, commands every scene he is in!!!



During POTO we should only see Erik at his controlling/powerful/manipulative best. He leads Christine by the hand/arm down to his lair and we should feel his danger and unpredictability...and be thrilled by it like Christine is *wink*.
I remember the first time I saw this I could feel my heart pounding and my breathing was faster!!! and then MOTN just sweeps me away, its so appropriate that C faints, she's just so overcome like we all are

#2 Coming next!
eagerly awaiting! :foot: :mrgreen:
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Re: Favorite Phantoms

Postby Rose » Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:39 pm

eagerly awaiting! :foot: :mrgreen:


:hearts:


#2 Ramin Karimloo

The only Phantom actor who I ever felt came almost dangerously close to Gerry's place on my pedestal. Seriously if I hadn't seen Gerry first, and he hadn't already claimed the #1 place in my heart, Ramin would have taken it without any shadow of a doubt.

I just love him.

Everything I previously spoken of about the importance of an actor showing Erik's vulnerability and power...Ramin captures beautifully...like Gerry he also UNDERSTANDS what MOTN is really about and plays it brilliantly!

Watch Ramin's MOTN on the 25th Show and like Gerry you'll see it all: the longing, the insecurity, the desperation. It's amazing how quickly he can switch from commanding Erik (POTO) to insecure Erik. I think what I love best about Ramin's MOTN is how it's so obvious he doesn't have a clue on what to do. It's like he didn't plan beyond bring Christine to his home and now that he's finally got her there he's like a teenage boy trying to remember the instructions in all the novels he's read on how to romance a girl, lol.

He's so obviously overcome by his love for her, she's looking at him like he hangs the moon in the sky...and he's so obviously flying by the seat of his pants it makes me love him so much...his eyes just make me go awww :hearts:

I think Ramin's MOTN get's points for being the most 'unpolished' version of MOTN I've ever seen, and when I say 'unpolished' I don't mean choppy or rough, I mean that Ramin captured Erik's inexperience perfectly and Sierra captured Christine's obliviousness perfectly. Ramin's Erik isn't the smooth and confident Casanova that some actors play him as during this scene and he shouldn't be!

But Ramin can also take command and give us Erik's power and violent side like no other when the situation calls for it. In someways I think Ramin is probably one of the most explosive and violent Erik's, I mean he is quite rough with Christine when he's dragging her down to his lair.

It's interesting to compare Ramin's POTO with Gerry's and whereas Gerry is very gentle with Christine throughout that whole song...in fact I sort of got the feeling that Gerry's Erik was almost afraid to touch her for fear that she might break, he was almost like an overattentive boyfriend "are you tired my darling?" "do you need something to drink?" "are you dizzy?" lol...he even provides a horse for her so she doesn't have to walk the whole way...what a sweetheart. ;)

Ramin though is like impatient to get Christine as far away from the surface as fast as he can...almost like he's scared he'll get caught or Christine might change her mind and run, etc. He is very rough with her, pulling her arm, hurrying her along, even giving her a shove to speed her up.

This isn't a criticism of Ramin by the way, I LOVE how his Erik is different and a little more rough then others. I just find it interesting the differences each actor brings to the part, and Ramin's Erik is just a tad more touchy then Gerry's...but that's what makes him special to me and I love him for that. ;)

#3 coming up next! :)
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Re: Favorite Phantoms

Postby lifeinparadise1 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:37 pm

OK Rose, you asked, so here is my 2 cents worth. The first four were no problem, they were instantly in my head exactly as I would detail them here, no questions in my mind as to position on the list.

1. Along with probably everyone else, Gerry Butler in the 2004 Phantom movie. His vulnerability, his absolute devotion to Christine and his music, the way he can make me forget I'm watching a movie and actually feel a part of each scene.

2. London's stage version of Love Never Dies with Ramin. I'm still in awe over Ramin's ability to make me feel as though the earth has dropped out from beneath me, and at my age that takes some doing. I do prefer the bleakness, the mystical feeling of this show, and just as Ramin has total command of the Phantom in the original production, he carries that same presence into this stage production. He makes me ache to the point of feeling ill with my empathy for him. And Sierra hasn't met her match yet in her portrayal of Christine. I saw Sierra in the Las Vegas version of PotO and she simply "is" Christine.

3. Ramin in the 25th Anniversary dvd of PotO. I'm not sure how I would react to him in a movie version compared to Gerry, perhaps I'd simply feel they were equally wonderful. As a stage actor portraying Erik I think he is probably the best, but stage and movie are two different animals and call for distinctly different acting abilities. To project from the stage is quite different than on a movie screen.

4. I wrestled with this one a bit, if we were considering stage productions alone I'd probably vote for the Las Vegas show or maybe the original version I saw in Los Angeles with Crawford. The love of my life had committed suicide only months prior to the LA run and I admit I saw the show through a haze of tears. So instead I'll place the Australian version of Love Never Dies at #4. I can handle Ben's singing but not his acting. However, this version did go a long way in answering the questions from the original production and movie. There was satisfaction in seeing the romantic relationship explored and expanded upon, even though I felt myself first lifted up by the story and then sent crashing down to the depths of darkness upon the ending. As much as the ending of the movie still can bring me to tears, the first time I saw the ending of the London version (I had read the book) I felt like I'd been kicked in the gut, like the stars in the sky had suddenly disappeared and would never return. Australia saw fit to make me feel even worse. I have a hard time watching the ending even now.

5. And now for number 5 and I expect some shocked responses to my choice but it would have to be Dario Argento's Phantom of the Opera. Oh, Ms. "Argento" can neither sing nor act and got the part for obvious reasons but I like Julian Sand's version of the Phantom. It's bleak and primitive and let's one have a look directly into the heart of psychosis. I find this dark and violent Erik an intriguing figure. And he does in the final scenes regret his terrible behavior and once again sends Christine off with her lover......even though she is very unwilling, and quite noisy, about her departure. For in this version she does realize she loves Erik, does not wish to leave him and is distraught at his apparent death. Here I'm going to stick both of my "virtual" feet in this puddle and comment about the sex scenes. They are one of the reasons I put this film on my list. None of the other versions deals in any way with the implicit subject of sex except for the lair scene in Gerry's film and of course, BAMS in Love Never Dies. I find it intriguing that the director chose to make the affair between Erik and Christine a prominent part of the film, well, of course it is Italian, so guess I'm not too surprised. And though I see the story of Phantom of the Opera as a fantasy and a fairy tale, Argento manages to project a very real aspect into their story, be it somewhat clumsily shown. I'm fond of Sands. He slithers through this version with both grace and darkness and makes me feel like he could have been a real person, maybe not someone I would want to know but someone I could understand.

Phew, got a bit carried away. Time to let others get their list up. I could write a lot more about #5, it's always intrigued me since my first viewing. :)
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Re: Favorite Phantoms

Postby Rose » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:06 am

Hey lifeinparadise1! :wave:

I like your list but why did you list Ramin twice?

I guess I should have made it more clear... this is a list of your top 5 favorite Phantom Actors, not shows/movies. So you only need to list him once :)

Here's my list by the way:

1)Gerry Butler
2) Ramin Karmiloo
3) Ben Lewis
4) Lon Chaney
5) Charles Dance

But I'm doing a post on why each are in my top 5.

So you don't have to list Ramin twice, just tell us why he's one of your favorites.

I expect some shocked responses to my choice but it would have to be Dario Argento's Phantom of the Opera. Oh, Ms. "Argento" can neither sing nor act and got the part for obvious reasons but I like Julian Sand's version of the Phantom. It's bleak and primitive and let's one have a look directly into the heart of psychosis. I find this dark and violent Erik an intriguing figure. And he does in the final scenes regret his terrible behavior and once again sends Christine off with her lover......even though she is very unwilling, and quite noisy, about her departure. For in this version she does realize she loves Erik, does not wish to leave him and is distraught at his apparent death. Here I'm going to stick both of my "virtual" feet in this puddle and comment about the sex scenes. They are one of the reasons I put this film on my list. None of the other versions deals in any way with the implicit subject of sex except for the lair scene in Gerry's film and of course, BAMS in Love Never Dies. I find it intriguing that the director chose to make the affair between Erik and Christine a prominent part of the film, well, of course it is Italian, so guess I'm not too surprised. And though I see the story of Phantom of the Opera as a fantasy and a fairy tale, Argento manages to project a very real aspect into their story, be it somewhat clumsily shown. I'm fond of Sands. He slithers through this version with both grace and darkness and makes me feel like he could have been a real person, maybe not someone I would want to know but someone I could understand.


I am more then just shocked I'm stunned :what:

But not in a bad way, I thought I was the only person who sort of secretly 'liked' the Argento film. ;)

As a 'horror' film it's not half bad...the problem with it in my opinion is that Argento took it too far away from it's source material...it just didn't 'feel' like a POTO film.

But after hearing such horrible things about it, I honestly was surprised how entertained I was by it, and the hopeless romantic in me loved all the Erik/Christine romantic stuff, despite how fast it happened or the absurdity of Erik being raised by rats. But the ending WAS really sad and I did shed a tear or so despite the 'cheesy romantic music' lol.

I think had Argento played it straight, given Erik a deformity, got rid of the ridiculous 'raised by rat' crap, and focused on the music and the love story...he could have had a great Phantom Film on his hands but instead what he had was a good horror film that didn't really feel like a Phantom movie despite it's title.

That's my opinion anyway but I"ll talk more about the film during out marathon. :)
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Re: Favorite Phantoms

Postby Godzuki » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:52 am

I adore the way you guys have with words, its so much fun talking POTO again with you!!!!!! :banana: You don't know how much I love reading these!!!!! :clap: (ok this smilie is not clapping hard and wildly enough for me :foot: he looks like he is doing the "polite clap" LOL)

You know, I hear the basics of the P and I think this guy is just beyond hope and no one should come within a mile of him. But our favorite actors have shown his humanity, and even more than that, they show his personality, his fears and hopes and it just makes him so real that we fall in love with him, we connect. Growing up, I was afraid to let people know the "real me", I was afraid that they would find me boring or unlovable, that I'd be invisible. But i have found when I am myself that is when I am truly loved/accepted and when people open up, they find that out too and its priceless. I think it takes quite an actor to find that "divine spark" within Erik and portray it and when we see it, we are so moved :hearts:
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Re: Favorite Phantoms

Postby Godzuki » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:16 am

lifeinparadise1 wrote:4. I wrestled with this one a bit, if we were considering stage productions alone I'd probably vote for the Las Vegas show or maybe the original version I saw in Los Angeles with Crawford. The love of my life had committed suicide only months prior to the LA run and I admit I saw the show through a haze of tears.
:( :hugs:


So instead I'll place the Australian version of Love Never Dies at #4. I can handle Ben's singing but not his acting. However, this version did go a long way in answering the questions from the original production and movie. There was satisfaction in seeing the romantic relationship explored and expanded upon, even though I felt myself first lifted up by the story and then sent crashing down to the depths of darkness upon the ending. As much as the ending of the movie still can bring me to tears, the first time I saw the ending of the London version (I had read the book) I felt like I'd been kicked in the gut, like the stars in the sky had suddenly disappeared and would never return. Australia saw fit to make me feel even worse. I have a hard time watching the ending even now.

I feel very similar. The acting in a play is so different from a movie, all the actions have to be overdone so everyone can see them in the audience but when you see them upclose, its unsettling. and the ending is so stark, even though there is hope for Gustave and Erik, both have just lost the #1 person in their lives and thats how the show ends!!!! I wish so badly for an epilogue or an alternative ending!!!!!! So i tend to end the show when he gives her all those kisses in the dressing room and write my own ending in my head lOL

But all that being said, Ben has quite a presence as the P and I watched BAMS and OUAT like time had stood still. I was eating up every word and action between E/C and aching for them. It answered so many ?s and opened up so many what ifs. I really love their passion/devotion to one another :hearts:
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Re: Favorite Phantoms

Postby lifeinparadise1 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:17 am

Oops! Sorry about that Rose, misread your invitation. Well, I'll need to think a little bit about how to rearrange my list and my reasons. Happy to be able to write some more and expand upon my thoughts.

But that will have to await my trip to the grocery store and return. I only have a one track brain these days and it takes all my concentration to drive and deal with the visiting Gringos who insist upon driving as they do at home and fail to take into account another country and different customs. Driving here is always a challenge but this makes it more so! :duel: :duel: :(
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