Disney composer Alan Menken explains why a live-action The Hunchback of Notre Dame film may never happen. Loosely based on the 1831 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo, Disney’s animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame premiered in 1996 to massive critical acclaim, becoming the fifth highest-grossing film of the year. In January 2019, a live-action remake of the film was announced, titled Hunchback, with actor Josh Gad set to produce.
In an interview with Comicbook.com, Menken says that progress has halted on Hunchback and that he isn’t certain the film will ever happen. Menken admits that The Hunchback of Notre Dame is difficult to adapt because of the subject matter and the range of real-world issues the film deals with. He references “Hellfire,” an iconic song from The Hunchback of Notre Dame that might not be appropriate to include in a remake of the film. Read Menken’s full comment below:
“I have no idea. 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.”
Every Upcoming Disney Live-Action Remake
While Hunchback was initially announced in January 2019, no updates on the project have been given since January 2021, when Gad reassured that the film was still in the works. Gad was also reportedly in talks to play the film’s lead, Quasimodo. Though forward momentum seems to have run slow on Hunchback, Disney is still moving forward with several other live-action remakes of classic animated films.
The Halle Bailey-led The Little Mermaid became the most highly-anticipated movie among Disney’s upcoming live-action remakes. Echoing Menken’s sentiments of dealing with the subject matter and divisive song lyrics in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid has garnered some controversy for making changes to iconic songs like “Kiss the Girl” to make the music more culturally sensitive and more progressive. Other upcoming live-action Disney remakes currently in development include Lilo & Stitch, Hercules, Moana, and Snow White, scheduled to release on March 22, 2024.
Though Disney has a full slate of live-action remakes ahead, many films seem to have a similar issue of making sure the material is up-to-date for current audiences. While some Disney fans say that nothing should be changed between the animated films and their live-action counterparts, others think that remakes present an opportunity for content to be reworked for modern times. Until Disney can figure out how to approach The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it may be some time before Hunchback hits theaters.
This story originally appeared on Screenrant