Disney is continuing to roll out live-action adaptations of its classic animated films, and now we get word that the Hunchback of Notre Dame is also deck.
According to Deadline, Disney has tapped Tony-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) to write this live-action Hunchback movie, based on the Victor Hugo novel. Music is being handled by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, with Josh Gad also serving as producer on the film along with Mandeville. Word is that Gad could be up to play the lead character of Quasimodo, but officially Disney hasn't announced anything on the casting front yet.
The film seems to be set in some pretty esteemed hands, as Stephen Schwartz has won three Oscars for his work on The Prince of Egypt and Pocahontas; he also did the original score for the animated Hunchback movie. Alan Menken tops that with no less than eight Oscars under his belt, for his work on Aladdin, Pocahontas, the animated Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid. In short, this is top-shelf Disney animated talented being 'ported over to the live-action side of things. Having a celebrated playwright plotting and balancing the main storyline with the musical numbers is also a pretty good sign.
If you don't remember the plot of the animated adaptation of The Hunchback Notre Dame, here's your refresher:
"In 15th century Paris, Clopin the puppeteer tells the story of Quasimodo, the misshapen but gentle-souled bell ringer of Notre Dame, who was nearly killed as a baby by Claude Frollo, the Minister of Justice. But Frollo was forced by the Archdeacon of Notre Dame to raise Quasimodo as his own. Now a young man, Quasimodo is hidden from the world by Frollo in the belltower of the cathedral. But during the Festival of Fools, Quasimodo, cheered on by his gargoyle friends Victor, Hugo, and Laverne, decides to take part in the festivities, where he meets the lovely gypsy girl Esmeralda and the handsome soldier Phoebus. The three of them find themselves ranged against Frollo's cruelty and his attempts to destroy the home of the gypsies, the Court of Miracles. And Quasimodo must desperately defend both Esmeralda and the very cathedral of Notre Dame."
With Disney's slate booked up well into 2020 with live-action releases of Aladdin, The Lion King, Dumbo, and Mulan, it would stand to reason that The Hunchback will be close alongside the live-action Little Mermaid as either a late 2020 or 2021 release. Will keep you updated as more info about the film is released.