The bell tolls for David Henry Hwang as writer of Disney’s Hunchback film

Disney has found their writer for HUNCHBACK, the live-action adaptation of their 1996 animated classic, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, in Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, the House of Mouse's animated family drama tells the story of a deformed bell-ringer who must assert his independence from a vicious government minister in order to help his friend, a gypsy dancer, Esmerelda. SEINFELD's Jason Alexander voiced the film's hunchbacked lead, who throughout the course of the film demonstrates time and again that true beauty and heroism comes from within.

Joining the M. Butterfly playwright for Disney's long-gestating live-action version of Hugo's tale are Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, who will write the music for the upcoming film. Mandeville is producing alongside Disney alum Josh Gad, who Deadline reports could be up for the part of Quasimodo, the bell keeper with a heart of gold. With that being said, it's important to note that no official casting announcements for the HUNCHBACK project have been made.

As a way of celebrating the reveal of Hwang's role for the film, Josh Gad recently posted a rather telling photo to his Twitter account:

Fun Fact: Disney has been trying to get a live-action version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame up and running for several years, dating all the way back to when David Hoberman was president of the company, over thirty years ago. Back in the day, work on a live-action version of the classic cautionary tale had quickly stalled out, which in time had resulted in the making of Disney's animated film, which later received its own limited TV series on on ABC.

For the moment, Disney's HUNCHBACK has some remarkable musical talent assigned to the project, with Menken and Schwartz undoubtedly being among the first of several notable musicians to be joining the endeavor. Add to that Hwang's roster of impressive stage projects, such as Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, Golden Child, and The Dance and Railroad, and fans of the timeless tale can look forward to this being a genuine treat when it eventually swings into theaters. 

Source: Deadline Hollywood

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.