Alan Menken Shares Update on Live-Action Hunchback of Notre Dame Movie (Exclusive)

The Little Mermaid is hitting theaters later this month, and it features most of the beloved songs from the 1989 animated movie that were written by Oscar-winner Alan Menken. Menken is responsible for some of Disney's most famous music from movies such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and more. Many of the animated films that were scored by Menken have been turned into live-action remakes, and the next project after The Little Mermaid is expected to be Hercules. For years, another movie that Disney fans have wanted to see remade is The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It was announced back in 2019 that Josh Gad would be producing a live-action Hunchback film, but there haven't been any updates in over two years. This week, had the chance to chat with Menken about The Little Mermaid and we asked if the Hunchback movie was still happening.

"I have no idea," Menken admitted. "It's a tough one, because the Hunchback movie, Hunchback story involves a lot of real, real issues that are important issues and should be explored to be discussed. And there has to be an agreement about how we deal with those issues. You know, do we do a Hunchback without 'Hellfire?' I don't think so ... So it sits in this limbo right now, but the Hercules movie is apparently underway and I got some inklings of what's going on, but just some, and I've been more involved with the Broadway show off of Hercules, which is coming, and it's really exciting."  

Who Wrote New Songs For The Little Mermaid?

The Little Mermaid remake features new tracks composed by Menken and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. During an interview with Collider last year, Miranda spoke about working with his longtime idol, Menken. 

"Yeah, Alan is the reason I'm in this business," Miranda shared. "I'm here because The Little Mermaid blew my mind. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken shaped my childhood. It took us a while to get started because I think we were both nervous to go first, to present lyrics or to present music ... I learned is that Alan is maybe our greatest melodist since Richard Rogers. His doodles are better than any melody I will write in my life. But what he loves is to bounce off of something. As soon as I started writing lyrics, it wrote really fast because he's so quick, in terms of, once he's got his head around the style a song is, he's got it and he's got 50 melodies to pick and choose from. It's like anything else, you talk until the moment is right and you understand the musical moment you're dramatizing, and then it's a matter of keeping up with Alan Menken because he's fast."

Miranda added, "So much of my work on The Little Mermaid was that wish fulfillment. I actually didn't write any new songs for Sebastian the Crab because I love his songs so much. I was like, 'I can't. Nope, not me. I can't do it.' I did get to write for some of the other characters in that movie. Every song you love in The Little Mermaid is still in The Little Mermaid, we just found some new moments to musicalize. That's really tricky."

The Little Mermaid is set to be released in theaters on May 26th