Disney is on a roll with their live action remakes – and why wouldn’t they be? Their 2017 live action remake of Beauty and the Beast made over $174,000,000 on its opening weekend and went on to bring in over 1.2 Billion. So, it surprised no one when Disney announced that live action remakes were on the way for Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King, Mulan, Lilo and Stitch, Lady and the Tramp, The Little Mermaid, and Pinocchio. Disney is also continuing its villain series, working on a 101 Dalmatians based movie in the vein of Maleficent, named only Cruella.
But now another live action remake has been announced, and it is one I firmly believe will do better as live action than the cartoon did: The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Long considered a bit dark for Disney, the original cartoon, released in 1996, was a masterpiece of its own – but was unable to gain the acclaim that is attached to most other Disney classics. Disney is no stranger to sad tales but for some reason Hunchback was a bit too downtrodden for audiences to fall in love with.
Disney is obviously intent on making this production a hit – they’ve recruited Tony Award winning playwright David Henry Hwang to write the script with legendary composers Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz handling the music. Josh Gad, who starred alongside Luke Evans and Emma Watson playing LeFou in the Beauty and the Beast remake, is attached to the picture as a producer with rumors swirling that he may end up starring as well.
Hwang has long been a darling of Broadway, with his show M. Butterfly recently revived on Broadway with Clive Owen starring. Hwang is no stranger to Disney though, having written Tarzan. His other Broadway credits include Aida, which he worked on in collaboration with Tim Rice and Elton John, The Dance and the Railroad, Chinglish, and Golden Child.
Composer Schwartz may be best known for the Broadway sensation Wicked, but he also worked on Godspell and Pippin.
Menken is a long-time collaborator with Disney, having composed songs for such classics as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and the original Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Early reports state that the new film will draw heavily from both the Victor Hugo novel as well as the animated classic but will ignore the previous stage production which both Schwartz and Menken had worked on. More information should be released in the near future, hopefully revealing more of the cast and a tentative release date!
What do you think of Disney’s recent live-action remake trend? Let us know in the comments!
Richard Allen is a freelance writer and contributing editor for various publications. When he’s not writing about video games on FanFest.com you can find him on Broadway World or in Graffiti Magazine. He can be contacted via email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit his website at facebook.com/richardallenwrites