God help the remakes. Disney has announced it’s making a live-action adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which will be based on both Victor Hugo’s original novel and the studio’s own 1996 animated film. Hopefully that means more hellfire, way fewer gargoyles.
As reported by Deadline, Tony-winning playwright David Henry Hwang has been tapped to write a live-action musical version of Hunchback — along with Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, who will be writing the music. The production is being produced by Beauty and the Beast’s Josh Gad, who Deadline reports is also rumoured for the part of Quasimodo.
The new version will use parts of Disney’s 1996 animated movie but not the later stage production — and it isn’t connected to Idris Elba’s recently announced modern Hunchback remake.
Out of all the Disney live-action remakes that have been released, are in the works or could happen in the future, I will admit that this is the one I’ve been most curious about. Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame was one of those films that walked a very fine line between gorgeously dark adaptation and silly kids’ movie, with awful stereotypes of the Romani people and gargoyles that screwed birds. By trying to be both, it failed at being either.
This is an opportunity not only for Hunchback to fully commit to the best parts of its Disney predecessor, but also to make one hell of a “Hellfire” scene.
Of course, I’m also of the belief that Disney live-action remakes shouldn’t exist to “right the wrongs” of the animated versions that came before, which the Emma Watson-starring Beauty and the Beast tried and failed to do back in 2017. We’ll just have to wait and see what fine line Hunchback walks this time around.
No expected release date has been revealed, but we’ll update when we know more.