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Emmy Rossum, 18

Film: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera

Why: Barely 18, Rossum has been on the career fast track ever since her early days as a child singer in the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera in her hometown, New York City.

That phase of her life clearly served her in good stead for her current assignment: the clarion-voiced Christine Daae in the $90 million film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera.” She has the part originated onstage by Lloyd Webber’s ex-wife, Sarah Brightman.

Critics applauded the swift, sharp impression left by Rossum as Sean Penn’s doomed daughter in “Mystic River” and for holding her own amid the testosterone-fueled environment (and all that water) in “The Day After Tomorrow.” On TV in 2000, she played the young Audrey Hepburn in “The Audrey Hepburn Story.”

Quote: “The reason I wanted to do ‘Phantom,’ beside the fact that Andrew’s music is so beautiful, is that the character is so different from me. I mean, I’m a pretty happy, sociable person, and this is a girl who’s very tortured emotionally and very lonely. And though I’m pretty rational, she’s very spiritual, and I think I’m pretty loved and she’s very alone at the cusp of womanhood without a mentor. Christine is a role that comes out of my own personal history growing up as a young person at the opera, and also from my heart. Even though we are very, very different, I am also similar to her in some ways.

I think she’s like a lot of young women, looking for love, looking for protection, looking for a way to express her creativity.”

What’s next: A debut album. “I want something that has the range of a Celine Dion or a Faith Hill, but I also really admire Evanescence.”

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