Continuing with their live-action remake trend, Disney is reportedly in the works on Hunchback, an adaptation of the classic Victor Hugo novel.

What’s happening:

  • Deadline is reporting that playwright David Henry Hwang has been selected to write a live action musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz will reportedly write the music with Mandeville Films slated to produce along with Josh Gad.
  • This film is expected to pull from Disney’s animated version as well as the original novel, but not from the Schwartz/Menken stage production that debuted in Europe.
  • According to reports, Mandeville’s, David Hoberman, has been interested in producing a live-action version going back some 30 years when he was Disney film president.  
  • Early attempts at adapting the story resulted in the animated featured fans are familiar with as well as a limited series on ABC.  
  • While it’s still very early in the production stage—and hasn’t even made it on Disney’s release calendar—the creative minds behind the Hunchback are some of the most experienced in sage and musical creation and production.

Mike Fleming Jr. of Deadline notes: “I had heard that Gad, a star of the Mandeville-produced blockbuster Beauty and the Beast, might play the lead character, but insiders at the studio said no casting is solid at this point.”

About the creative team:

David Henry Hwang

David Henry Hwang

David Henry Hwang

  • Plays include:
    • Chinglish
    • Yellow Face
    • Kung Fu
    • Golden Child
    • The Dance and the Railroad
  • Broadway musicals include:
    • The Elton John & Tim Rice collaboration Aida
    • Revival of Flower Drum Song
    • Disney’s animated Tarzan.
  • Hwang is also behind the M. Butterfly was revival on Broadway this season with Julie Taymor-directing and producing.  His collaboration with composer Jeanine Tesori, Soft Power, opened last May in Los Angeles.
  • He is America’s most produced living opera librettist as well.

Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz

Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz

Stephen Schwartz

  • Three-time Oscar winner.
  • Additional credits include:
    • Wicked
    • Godspell
    • Pippin 

Alan Menken

  • Eight-time Oscar winner.
  • His credits include:
    • Beauty and the Beast
    • Aladdin
    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (original score)


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