The studio is making a new adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel with Tony-winning ‘M. Butterfly’ playwright David Henry Hwang being tapped to write the script.
Disney’s next project will put the Hunchback of Notre Dame front and center. The studio is making a live-action musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel, which was turned into an animated film by Disney in 1996.
According to Deadline, David Henry Hwang, who wrote Tony-winning play “M. Butterfly”, has been tapped to write the script of the upcoming movie. Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz will write the music.
No director is currently attached to the project, while Josh Gad, who stars in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast (2017)”, is reportedly eyed to star as the titular character. Insiders at the studio, however, note that “no casting is solid at this point.” Mandeville, the banner behind the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” movie, will be producing along with Gad.
Menken and Schwartz, who wrote the songs for the 1996 movie, also collaborated on a decidedly more Gothic stage production that ran in Berlin from 1999 to 2002. The live-action “Hunchback” reportedly will pull from that 1996 animated film and the Hugo novel but not from Menken and Schwartz’s stage production.
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” centers on Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer of Notre Dame, and his struggle to gain acceptance into society. Also the highlight of the story is his romantic interest in a beautiful and kind gypsy named Esmeralda, who is also the object of lust by the villain, Frollo.
The animated movie is considered to be one of Disney’s darkest animated films as its narrative explores such mature themes as infanticide, lust, damnation, genocide and sin, though it’s still pale in comparison to the bleak Hugo novel.
Another “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” movie has been developed for Netflix, with Idris Elba taking the lead role. Dubbed a modernized take on Hugo’s classic 19th century romance, the movie is described as a “sonic and musical experience.” Michael Mitnick (“The Giver”) writes the script.
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