Disney's 'Hunchback' remake brings playwright David Henry Hwang on board

david henry hwang, hunchback of notre dame

Disney’s live action remake of Gothic classic Hunchback of Notre Dame is officially on its way, having assigned David Henry Hwang as its scriptwriter.

Like many of Disney’s other recent remakes of classics, Hunchback has some notable names attached to it. Hwang has scooped up countless awards including a Tony for his stage work (most famously for M. Butterfly). He has also previously written for Disney’s stage adaptations of Aida and Tarzan. According to Deadline, the remake will take cues from the 1996 animated classic and the novel written by Victor Hugo.

Other creatives on the Hunchback remake include Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, veteran Disney composers and masters of song. Josh Gad, who appeared as LeFou in the recent Beauty and the Beast remake and as Olaf in Frozen, will produce the movie.

Legacy vs. Reimagination

Of the upcoming remakes, including Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Mulan, Hunchback of Notre Dame is remembered as a darker and more mature Disney classic. (Though with Tim Burton directing Dumbo, that reputation may change.) Cinderella’s redo was released to positive reaction from fans in 2015, but enthusiasm is waning fast.

So far, the slew of remakes cannot seem to strike a balance between homage and innovation. Half of them stick so closely to the original that there’s nothing new worth seeing. This the case with Beauty and the Beast, though we got a proper song from the Beast, at least. The other half diverge wildly from their source material, as is the case with Mulan, which is reported to be a “kung-fu movie”—with no singing. Creatives should be free to explore source material, of course, but what is Mulan without motivational classic “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”?

Little else is known about Hunchback. No release date nor casting has been announced.

QUIZ: Are these movies the original or the remake?

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Kasey Smith

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Editor-in-Chief of Sommet Dame, Hofstra Class of '19, and CelebrityCafe's newest writer intern!

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