Among a swathe of upcoming live action remakes, Disney appears to have pressed the pause button on Hunchback Of Notre Dame.
The question of whether Disney should be pressing ahead with its seeming mission to convert its entire back catalogue of animated classics into live action films is one that fans have been debating for some years now. The company has certainly had some hits and misses along the way, but doesn’t seem to be slowing down with its live action remakes with takes on Lilo & Stitch, Moana, Hercules, Snow White, Bambi, The Aristocats, a prequel to The Lion King, a sequel to Cruella and a spin-off of Aladdin all in various stages of development.
However, one planned remake that does appear to have stalled is a live action take on 1996’s The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, itself based on the classic Victor Hugo novel. David Henry Hwang was writing the screenplay for that one but it is veteran Disney composer Alan Menken who has cast doubt on the project, despite it being announced and slated for a 2024 release.
Menken, whose work will next be featured in the soon-to-release live action remake of The Little Mermaid, has expressed doubts that the project will materialise, largely due to some of the representation in the tale being outdated.
“I have no idea,” Menken told Comicbook.com (by way of Dark Horizons), “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 [the song] ‘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”.
Menken has talked in the past about why other Disney animated films such as Pocahontas might be impossible to adapt for similar reasons and we can certainly see his point. His comments come at a time when Disney is enduring something of a critical rough ride with its live action remakes, following drubbings for Robert Zemeckis’ Pinocchio and David Lowery’s Peter Pan and Wendy. We’ll let you know more on this one if and when we hear it.
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