Andrew Lloyd Webber told CNN’s Piers Morgan that Michael Jackson wanted to play the title role in the film version of “The Phantom of the Opera.” According to Webber, the King of Pop came to see the Broadway show multiple times — years before the film came out — and he and Jackson had spoken about a potential “Phantom” movie role.
However, Webber said, “People in those days were very worried that a film, if it was made, would destroy the Broadway or the West End show, and everybody would just go and see the movie. In fact, it’s been proven to be completely the other way around. If you make a movie, it’s just a great help for the theater. But goodness knows what it would’ve been like.”
Webber also recalled another legend who had an interest in portraying the Phantom — Sammy Davis Jr. Webber recalled being introduced to Davis by Liza Minnelli while in the south of France.
“I have never felt so ashamed in my life,” said Webber, who said he was skeptical about Davis’ ability to fill the role at first. “For 2½ hours I heard one of the most consummate performances I’ve ever heard, and he ended up doing ‘The Music of the Night.'”