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Billy Zane calls The Phantom “one of my favorite characters”

Billy Zane has declared that Kit Walker aka The Phantom remains one of his favorite characters despite it being a bomb.

The ghost who walks. The man who cannot die. That’s right – it’s Billy Zane! Well, The Phantom, but it sounds much cooler with Billy Zane directly attached. And he might not mind, either, considering it’s one of his favorite endeavors of his career.

Speaking with The A.V. Club, Billy Zane declared that Kit Walker aka The Phantom stands as “one of my favorite characters.” But the movie itself was a flop, with the June 7th, 1996 opening weekend finding it opening at #6, despite only one other title that week being a new release. As Zane remembered, “It got a lot of stick early on because it wasn’t edgy at a time when all those movies were going dark. I’ve always held a torch for what I saw as a dying genre, which was adventure. I was raised on adventure, and I think it’s so easily overlooked as how critical it is to young boys and girls.”

This action is what drew Billy Zane to The Phantom, saying, “I really understood the ethos of that, which is why I think I got the role. I just knew it and I was holding a torch for it… and it was a candle in the wind at the time, but then this thing came about, and I was, like, ‘A-ha! At last!’ It was something that would benefit from this weird adoration and fixation on all things Errol Flynn and Tarzan. A happy hero. Go figure! No issues. Well-adjusted. Animal friends. Man cave. Girlfriend. The family business. Life is good!”

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Despite a pretty strong cast that also included Catherine Zeta-Jones (in her first major American role), Treat Williams and Kristy Swanson, The Phantom just didn’t click with audiences or critics, unable to land what Alec Baldwin and The Shadow had tried to do two years prior. This killed any hopes for a franchise, although discussions did pop up years later over a potential reboot. Even still, there is something to appreciate about The Phantom now. And while Billy Zane may never return to the character and has other endeavors going on – such as proving a spitting image of Marlon Brando – we can still dig The Phantom for what it is.

Are you a fan of The Phantom? Where would you rank it in a list of best Billy Zane performances? Drop your thoughts below – and remember, Slam Evil!



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