A few weeks ago, we reported that ABC was in development on a modern-day musical adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” but now it seems a rival series is coming to steal its thunder as prolific producer Tony Krantz (“24,” “Dracula”) and acclaimed Amélie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet prepare to shift the story from a 19th century opera house to an early 20th century jazz club.
This new “Phantom of the Opera” will involve a lot of sex, murder and mystery in 1919 against a backdrop of the Paris Peace Conference. The drama will follow a British World War I fighter pilot with burns covering half of his body who finds himself at the center of a string of murders amid the hottest nightclub in Paris. An American Josephine Baker-esque headliner is the subject of the killer’s murderous intent and possibly the Phantom’s love?
Apparently Jeunet–whose signature style was utilized on another World War I-era story A Very Long Engagement–was the only director courted for the project, and he committed to directing the series (his first work for television) a mere week after reading the script.
“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 anyones dream come true.”
“I look forward to directing Tony Krantzs 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.”
Endemol Studios, the company behind “Peaky Blinders,” “Black Mirror” and “Hell on Wheels,” will produce the series. Jeunet’s latest 3D film, The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, is still rolling out at the worldwide box office but has yet to find distribution in the U.S.