Disney has been remaking its classic animated films for years now. Beginning with favorites like The Jungle Book in 2016 and finding enough success with 2019’s Aladdin that a sequel is in the works, it seems the trend of turning animated films into live-action remakes is here to stay. As the studio takes on each of its fan-favorite musicals, questions have been raised about the projects’ source material.
Fans want to know what will become of their childhood favorites films’ musical portions, and Hunchback aims to please with the promise of its original composer returning for the remake. Cast predictions have begun, with some famous stage and film actors already picked for the adaptation. There is so much charm and character to be found in Disney’s original animated films, so the most pressing question of all is whether The Hunchback of Notre Dame will live up to its predecessor.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame: The Plot
The Disney live-action remake of The Hunchback of Notre Dame seems set to follow a similar plot to the original animated film. The summary released is a familiar tale as old as time, inspired by Victor Hugo’s 1833 novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Quasimodo, an outcast that lives in the bell tower of Notre Dame, dreams about being a part of society. However, does the wicked priest Frollo have his ways of keeping him from achieving his dreams, while he himself falls in love with the mysterious gypsy girl, Esmeralda.
While the summary may be familiar, its execution could be fairly different from the animated version. When adapting their films for live-action, Disney can make creative choices that impact the final product – for better or worse. CGI animated animals have appeared frequently in the past, which is what we might see with the gargoyle characters Victor, Hugo, and Laverne in the remake of Hunchback. There are also elements to the original which have become dated over time, such as the term “gypsy” to refer to the female lead character Esmeralda. Whether Disney chooses to change some aspects of Hunchback to appeal to a modern audience is yet to be seen.
With previous live-action remakes, Disney’s choices have at times angered its fans. While their live-action remakes tend to be financially successful, they’ve become a source of scrutiny and displeasure among fans. While Hunchback isn’t one of Disney’s most popular animated films, it features content that is surprisingly dark and relevant to today’s viewers.
A live-action adaptation, if done well, could bring Hunchback’s positive themes and criticism of corrupt religion, racism, and ableism to new viewers. So long as Disney doesn’t remove the iconic “Hellfire” scene from Hunchback’s live-action version, we could see a very relevant and important adaptation of Hunchback in this new take on the book.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame: The Cast
While few actors have been announced for the live-action adaptation so far, there is one actor who fans seem set on casting as the film’s leading star, Quasimodo. After rising to Broadway fame in The Book of Mormon and becoming a fan favorite in What We Do In The Shadows, Josh Gad is on the team at Disney for another musical. You may recognize him as Olaf from Frozen or LeFou from Disney’s 2017 live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. Josh Gad appears to be the actor who fans want to play Quasimodo, and as he’s one of the producers on Hunchback already, we may see him cast in one of the roles on screen as well.
Casting hasn’t begun yet and roles are yet to be filled in the live-action version of this beloved classic. However, the crew is a bit more fleshed out. Josh Gad, David Hoberman (The Fighter), and Todd Lieberman (The Muppets) are set to produce. Don Hahn, who produced the original animated Hunchback, is returning to executive produce the live-action remake. Hoberman and Lieberman are co-owners of Mandeville Films and Television, which is the production company behind The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s remake alongside Walt Disney Studios. Alan Menken is returning as the composer, refreshing the soundtrack for the live-action adaptation. The script is being written by David Henry Hwang, a Tony award-winning playwright best known for his play M. Butterfly.
It’s a star-studded team for certain, and we can’t wait to hear who gets cast.
The current release date set for the live-action remake of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is July 19th, 2024. This comes after the movie was announced in 2019 and has been slowly moving toward casting and production in recent months. We can’t wait to see Hunchback when it comes to the big screen, or small screen, in the future.