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Another Film Ringing the Live-Action Bell: Disney Announces The Hunchback of Notre Dame Remake

Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame is set for a live-action remake for anticipated release in 2021. It has been 23 years since the animated classic hit screens back in June 1996, and David Hoberman, head of Mandeville films and former Disney film president, has been awaiting a live-action opportunity for the film for over 30 years.

Victor Hugo’s literary work gave us Quasimodo, a hunchback trapped in a solitary life within Notre Dame’s bell tower in Paris. With only gargoyles to keep him company, Quasimodo longs to be with other people, leading to his chance encounter with a mysterious gypsy, Esmeralda. The story sees Quasimodo help keep Esmeralda free from the evil clutches of his guardian, Judge Frollo.

The new film, now entitled Hunchback, will be produced by Mandeville Films and Frozen‘s Josh Gad. The music will be composed by Disney Legend and eight-time Oscar-winner Alan Menken, who created the original score of the animated film, and three-time Oscar-winner Stephen Schwartz. The Tony-winning M. Butterfly playwright David Henry Hwang has signed up to the scriptwriting task.

Hwang’s other work includes the plays Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, Golden Child and The Dance and the Railroad, and Broadway musicals including the Elton John & Tim Rice collaboration Aida, the revival of Flower Drum Song, and Disney’s animated Tarzan. Hwang is also America’s most produced living opera librettist.

Deadline reports that the new film will draw from the 1996 animated film and the Victor Hugo novel but not from the stage production that Schwartz and Menken collaborated on in Europe.

No casting decisions have yet been made (though it was rumored that Josh Gad may play Quasimodo), but we are excited to see who will fill the roles originally played by voice actors Tom Hulce (Quasimodo), Demi Moore (Esmeralda), Tony Jay (Judge Frollo), Kevin Kline (Phoebus) and Jason Alexander (Hugo).

Hunchback will follow 2019’s live-action line-up of of Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King. Also on the slate are a Cruella De Vil origin story and remakes of Lady and the Tramp, Mulan, and Lilo and Stitch. Read our Lion King article here and our Lilo and Stitch article here.

Who would you cast in a live-action version of Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame?