The Phantom Of The Opera, thought to be the largest independently-financed UK production ever, starts shooting on Monday at Pinewood Studios.

The adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical is to shoot for 16 weeks under director Joel Schumacher. Gerard Butler, the 33 year-old Scottish actor from Tomb Raider 2 and Richard Donner's Timeline, plays The Phantom, while 17 year-old New York opera singer Emmy Rossum, whose screen credits include The Audrey Hepburn Story and Mystic River, is Christine.

Patrick Wilson, whose credits include Angels in America with Al Pacino and The Alamo, plays Raoul, Christine's childhood sweetheart. Also starring are Miranda Richardson, Minnie Driver, Ciaran Hinds, Simon Callow, James Fleet, Victor McGuire and Jennifer Ellison.

Really Useful Films and Lloyd Webber are producing with tax-based fund Scion Films, while Odyssey Entertainment is handling international sales. Warner Bros will distribute in North America and Entertainment Film Distributors has the UK.

Executive producing duties are shared by Austin Shaw and Paul Hitchcock for Really Useful Films and Jeff Abberley and Julia Blackman for Scion Films.