Freddie Highmore picture image

Freddie Highmore

Sometimes these Hypothetical Casting posts get away from me. I have a habit of focusing more on the Esmeraldas and the Frollo options that sometimes the minor character don’t get that much attention. That’s why it’s great to be reminded, I want to thank Skylar for the suggestion of Freddie Highmore for Gringoire.

Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates Bates motel picture image

Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates

So let’s talk about Freddie Highmore. From a acting stand point, I’m more familiar with his work as a child actor like in Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. However he was decent in both those movies. He seemed to be a better than average child actor. Now that he is grown up so has his acting. I did watch some of The Bates Motel and his acting prowess is in no question. He can act.But that isn’t the question. The Question is, would Highmore make a good Gringoire? That is a hard question because like our old friend Phoebus, Gringoire is another character that can be a hero, a coward, a verbose poet, there in the background, or not there at all. So like Phoebus, actors with a range are more preferable, and yes Highmore does have a range.

Freddie Highmore picture image

Freddie Highmore

Of course the REAL question is does Highmore have the right look for Gringoire? As you may have guess, looking the role isn’t the end all be all, make-up and costumes can work wonders and often looks are ignored. Plus Gringoire’s looks really aren’t that important to his character. So why should it be important? Well gotta have something to go on but Highmore does have a good look for the way Gringoire looks in the book. He is describes as “all, thin, pale, fair, young still, although already wrinkled in the brow and cheeks, with two brilliant eyes and a smiling mouth…”  So yeah I think Highmore fits that look really well, a little too well.

Freddie Highmore picture image

Freddie Highmore

Someone cast Freddie Highmore as Gringoire right now! But what do you think? Highmore for Gringoire?

 

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo

We have seen a lot of different characterizations of Quasimodo. Every adaptations changes him to suits their unique needs for their version of the story.  He has been morose, sad, naive, a bookworm, a Disney princess and even an emo  but Quasimodo d’El gives us a very new take on Quasimodo, unapologetically childish.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo  Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

Quasimodo in this version gets a more fleshed out back story. Like the case of the abysmal Enchanted Tales, which will forever haunt me, he is NOT born deformed. Instead he was born to rich mean people and Clopin cursed him on the day of his baptism. Basically his deformities are rooted in his awful parents dropping him face side down and throwing him agiast a wall. Then they abandon him and switch him with for pretty Esmeralda. Quasimodo is then brought to the cathedral where he is reared by Frollo.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

The plot of this movie really needs Quasimodo to be childlike and innocent as this makes people care for him on a subconscious level and so he himself is not aware that the “play’ he does with Frollo is actually murder. It’s actually rather clever.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

However there is a massive trade off. In book, the cathedral was everything to Quasimodo, it was his world till Esmeralda but this version the cathedral is more like a jungle-gym, a plaything. He just has fun playing around it. Also there is no depth to this Quasimodo but to the movie’s credits it knows this fact. The film calls him out for just thinking Esmeralda is pretty and doesn’t know her  much like the way he is treated but in reverse.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo  Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

So is this version of Quasimodo a bad one? Yes and No. I think for the movie’s plot and concept he works but as a Quasimodo there is no depth or development. He is  just very, very childish.

 

 

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo  Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo

Quasimodo d’El Paris is a hard movie to sell. It’s a comedic modern re-telling of a tragic romantic-period book. The styles and tones are in opposition to each other. That is not to say there isn’t some silly scenes in the book but at the end of the day The Hunchback of Notre Dame is not a happy silly story. So what is the plot of this movie?

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo  Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

Basically Quasimodo d’El Paris takes on a fairly simple story with some aspects of the book plot woven in. Very quickly, in a place, I’m guessing a Town, called El Paris there have been a slew of murders on women. People blame the Cubans a.k.a the outsiders but then they suspect the hunchback in the bell-town, Quasimodo. Quasimodo is really just an accessory to the murders as he just assists unknowingly. The real murder is Frollo, his care-taker. Frollo is doing these murders for the people’s savalation or something and hiding the bodies in gargoyle statues.  Frollo is really just bat-shit crazy in this movie.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

This is a hard plot to really analyze because it’s secondary. The whole of the movie is a gimmick, a novelty. I don’t even mean that in a bad way. It’s a silly modern Hunchback version, that’s its concept. The murder plot really just facilitates the Hunchback points and to be honest it gets confused towards at point like at the end. Like Quasimodo has Esmeralda in the Cathedral protecting her against her will, Frollo wants her, plus the the police outside want Esmeralda and Quasimodo but Frollo is protecting Quasimodo but wants him to give up Esmeralda. It’s just a little weird as the movie has present it, which could be the fault of editing.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

I don’t hate movie, I’m more confused by it, in terms of the style, humor and its take on the characters which was always the heart of the story.  So let’s just leave the plot behind since there was too much too it outside the hunchback bullet points and get to characters.

Next Time Quasimodo

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo  Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I more than likely will discuss the Hunchback modernization later, as in what things worked and what didn’t. Though in all honestly I think a lot of the things the tweaked to bring it in to a modern setting did work.

 

 

Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Quasimodo d’El Paris

The winner for the next adaptation to be review was Quasimodo d’El Paris. For those of you who have never heard of this version, Quasimodo d’El Paris is a French Comedic Parody of The Hunchback of Notre Dame that came out in 1999. It takes place in the fictitious of El Paris and instead of Gypsies, it the Cubans. The place is a bit different to fit into a modern setting but some aspects of the story are very close to book.

The movie was directed, written and staring Patrick Timsit, which enters it into the realm of a passion/vanity project which is on point with other adaptations or would-be adaptations.  Do this make it a bad movie? Let’s find out!

 

Next time; The Plot

Richard Berry as Frollo 1999 Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Richard Berry as Frollo 1999 Quasimodo d’El Paris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to thank everyone who voted in the poll. Also I’m continuing just posting only of Tuesdays with a single casting post on a Wednesday, though random posting can occurs if I feel like it.  Also if you would like to make a suggestion for a Hypothetical casting, leave a comment.  I alway solve getting suggestions.

Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical performing Esmeralda picture image

Ensemble performing Esmeralda

As I write this post, there is no plan to have the American version of the Disney movie of the Hunchback of Notre Dame to go to Broadway. As it stands the play is going to regional theaters. That is  not to say that the musical couldn’t go to Broadway in the future or even that regional production are a bad thing. As of now, Disney will send an adaption of Frozen to the Broadway stage which is understandable as Frozen is Disney’s cash-cow at the moment but there is more at work.

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcasts, production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcasts, production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

I can’t speak that I know the decision making process though I except that money does have a lot to do with it. And considering that Anastasia musical is going to Broadway, Disney can’t have another company’s Princess movie make money, so Frozen goes, but I do suspect that that two style approach to the Hunchback musical did hurt it a bit.

Michael Arden as Quasimodo, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

First off I really can’t imagine Broadway wanting a Disney show that wasn’t the same opulent style as the other Disney shows. Frozen and Anastasia fit in better to this aesthetic. I can see the producers of the Hunchabck wanted to make it more realistic like Les Mis but do we need another version of Le Miz on Broadway? No. Both stories are by the same author even. Should the Hunchback  musical have opted for a more opulent style? It’s hard to say with the limitations of the theaters but I think on some level this show was going for the Le Mis style with the Disney story in mind hence the odd sense of rich minimal that didn’t really work in the end.

Hunchback of Notre Dame Set picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame Set

It does raise an interesting question, has the success of Les Mis kept Hunchback off Broadway? To my knowledge there has not been a version of Hunchback on Broadway. This version and Notre Dame de Paris seem like likely candidates but Notre Dame de Paris only played in Las Vegas for six months. Even Dennis DeYoung and Lionel Bart’s musical played in other theaters.

Ciara Renée as Esmeralda and Andrew Samonsky as Phoebus Hunchback of Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Ciara Renée as Esmeralda and Andrew Samonsky as Phoebus

I think the musical would need to be massively reworked to fit with the Disney brand musical aesthetic, I.e a super over-the-top spectacle  or totally embrace a minimal approach akin to Notre Dame de Paris.

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

We’ll have to see how the regional shows choice to address the style.  Maybe one production can solve the show issues because it would be great for this story to get the Broadway recognition.

Also I know it was selling point but the Gargoyle did not beat the chorus. I’m sorry it didn’t work. You can have them  but having extra try to be characters didn’t really work at all. At least make three of more interesting compelling characters. You don’t have to call them gargoyles. It just made the show seem amateurish to extras doing everything.

 

Ciara Renée as Esmeralda and Andrew Samonsky as Phoebus Hunchback of Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Ciara Renée as Esmeralda and Andrew Samonsky as Phoebus

On the whole, I like the costumes. There is a lot of good textures and colors that match the spirit of the Disney movie but elevates them to the stage. In particular, I really like  Esmeralda’s main costume and Phoebus’ costume. While I don’t they are accurate to the actual historical times they don’t really have to be. Though I did look up Burgundian fashion/armor and Phoebus might not be too far off, but really it does matter. Esmeralda has a very good re-imaginaing of her Disney look. I find it a bit curious that her hip scarf is devore, which is a velvet that have treated so that fibers are burned away resulting in a pretty pattern. Kind of like this. I find it curious because I have longed suspected that Esmeralda’s original Notre Dame de Paris costume was done with a similar technique so is it an homage or coincidence? I think it’s a coincidence but I like to think it’s an homage.

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda, Papermill production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda, Papermill production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

Her other costumes  are fine too, though I get shade of Ariel’s seashell bra with her red dress in the bodice. Not a criticism, it just something I noticed.

Patrick Page as Frollo singing Hellfire, Papermills Hunchback of Notre Dame, Picture image

Patrick Page as Frollo singing Hellfire, Papermills

However there are aspects of the costume and make-up are I find to be lacking.

Let’s start with Frollo. Poor Frollo, I have not been kind to this version of him. First off Frollo gets like two costume changes.  The black outfit he wears at the start before he takes his vows and during the curtain call. His other costume is his vestments which is his principle costume. He does also wear a black cloak when he goes to the bar. There isn’t so much as issue with his costume as  does fit with his character and profession but they could have done more. His vestment is white with a black stole with a red lining and that is fine but they should made different stoles that cover more of the pure white robe as he  falls deeper into lust because his lust was hardly ever communicated in his acting. Frollo is so cool in this version with minor bits of it here and there because the songs had the lines in the lyrics. Making his costume get a blacker as the show went on would have been a great little visual clue to his psyche as his lust consumes him.

 

Michael Arden as Quasimodo performing Made of Stone Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo performing Made of Stone

 

Kind of a similar issue I had with costumes functioning oddly  was the congregation removing their cowls during Made of Stone. The idea was that that they were aspects of Quasimodo’s mind as well as personified in stone but because they actors  are both the statues and people as other points in the show, taking off the cowl reads more of a costume change and they are going for the stones that are Quasmodo imaginary friends to regular towns people. I would have had them pull up the hoods of the cowls to hid their face i.e. losing the humanity Quasimodo gave them and fading into the darkness as soulless statues of stone. Not throwing off the cowl entirely.     (sorry for the bad picture)

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hey speaking of Quasimodo, his make-up. I have so many issues with his make-up. I get what they were doing, they wanted to drive the point of what makes a monster and what makes a man by having the actor literally transform into Quasimodo on stage. This is a gimmick and it serves to make it seem like the audience wouldn’t get the point and ultimetly making the Disney movie more mature and taking it audience more seriously.

Also this is not a great transformation, the actor applies like two lines of face paint to his face and that is his facial deformity. Honesty, I don’t have a issue with making the make-up minimal and having the actor do more of the work to convey Quasimodo’s deformity, that is what Notre Dame de Paris did and they had a much more minimal of a  style and they still be more lines on Quasimodo’s face, making that make-up more elaborate. Also it’s not super impressive from a stagecraft perceptive to have a grand set and lines for make-up for a character that is supposed to have facial deformity. Maybe had they added a little bit more to that real time transformation, like an eye protusion prothetic it would have been a little more impressive.  Der Glockner’s make-up wasn’t anything amazing and yet it looks like the Phantom of the Opera comparatively but that wasn’t the point they wanted to be minimal, (or save on the make-up budget.)

The issue of “minimalism” is something that will get discussed in the  next post but it seems like there is a solid disconnect of the make-up, the costumes and the sets. For the most part the sets and the costume go together fine. They are not what would considered overly grand and elaborate  but they  richly colored and textured but the make-up is minimal? It’s just weird especially for a character who is known for a facial deformity? That is like making the Phantom of the Opera’s deformirt look like a sunburn, oh wait they did that.

It was a decent thought for Quasimodo’s make-up but it was misguided and lacking in execution. It’s like they needed to pick a style and commit, not have aspects of the production to be one style and other aspects be another.

 

And remember you can still vote in the poll, so tell your friends.

What should be the next version?

  • Quasimodo d'el Paris (53%, 9 Votes)
  • The Dingo Version (35%, 6 Votes)
  • Other (PLEASE say what it is in the comments) (12%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 17

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I could not resist sharing these.

Disney Esmeralda Balloon Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Disney Esmeralda Balloon

They are Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame Balloons which I only found as the result of a typo. Typos are magical

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau picture image

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

There is no shortage of actors in the world who could be cast as Phoebus. At his most basic Hugo-ian level, a handsome jerk, is not a hard role but Phoebus does get facets in his personality that versions can and do add in to his characterization. He is sometimes the hero, a reformed rake, a jerk-face villain or an extra. He is a swiss army knife character. That is why sometimes you need an actor who is at the ready, who is capable of playing all those types of roles, sans the extra. One such actor is one Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Game of Thrones picture image

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Game of Thrones

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is best known for playing Jaime Lannister on HBO’s Game of Thrones. And if that doesn’t speak to Coster-Waldau’s ability to play Phoebus, I don’t know what else to say. Well to be fair, Jaime is not the womanize Phoebus is after all Jaime has only been with one woman (his twin sister) but that is beside the point. Coster-Waldau has the acting chops to play Phoebus effectively no matter what role the movie cast for  Phoebus.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau picture image

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

On looks, Coster-Waldau has what I think is the ideal look for Phoebus. He looks like a prince charming which Phoebus needs. Phoesbus has to be a pretty boy to foil both Quasimodo and Frollo. Ideally, Phoebus should be shining like the sun, (pardon the lyric use from Notre Dame be Paris.) Honestly, I don’t think you get more of a good of a look to Phoebus than Coster-Waldau.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau picture image

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

 

But what do you think? Would Nikolaj Coster-Waldau makes a good Phoebus? A Bad Phoebus? Or A Great Phoebus?

Also the Game of Thrones book series, A Song of Ice and Fire makes for some excellent summer reading.

 

 

Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical performing Esmeralda picture image

Ensemble performing Esmeralda

Last time we talked about the overall set from the American version and in general I liked it. It was a good simplifying of Notre Dame itself. Click here to read that post. However the problem that arises from fairly stationary main set piece is they way other scene outside of Notre Dame are communicated to the audience and in some case even the faced of Notre Dame itself. The American version of the Disney musical used moving set pieces as well as lighting. This also the approached that Notre Dame de Paris used and still uses today, albeit they have less set pieces and use more lighting and abstraction.

Hunchback of Notre Dame Set picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame Set

While I do like the primary set, all the other such i.e the set pieces, the extras and the cast does make for a lot of chaos on the stage and makes it at time seem like a cluttered mess. There is just too much and to be fair the differing patterns of the floor with the Rose window of the backdrop doesn’t help. If anything, it like the use of the extras made it lack focus.

On Top of the World Der Glockner von Notre Dame. picture image

On Top of the World Der Glockner von Notre Dame.

The American Musical version’s closest other version besides the movie, is the 1999 version musical Der Glockner von Notre Dame. Glockner also had a lot of moving parts but in a a very different way. To communicate the height of the Cathedral they used hydraulic lifts with screens and projections.

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda, Papermill production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda, Papermill production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

Both approaches is an apple and oranges kind of thing and not every production can have hydraulic lifts, moving set pieces are an easier more flexible approach. By I won’t pretend that I don’t like hydraulic lifts, they are cool to see in action. However there is a price, having your character higher in the high makes them higher from the audiences and it easier to loose that characters connection to the audience.

Michael Arden as Quasimodo, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

The use of the American Musical moving set pieces isn’t the issue, the issue is how clutter it made things. And when compare to Der Glockner which has it levels and tier that coalesce better and seem more purposeful, it does seem like American version once again could have use some editing.

And again if haven’t voted in the poll for the next version you still can.

What should be the next version?

  • Quasimodo d'el Paris (53%, 9 Votes)
  • The Dingo Version (35%, 6 Votes)
  • Other (PLEASE say what it is in the comments) (12%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 17

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And I still sick so I’m sorry this post is more confused than normal.

 

 

Due to personal reasons and being quite sick I’m going to have postpone the review for this week. Usually I’m better at scheduling posts if I know I’m going to be busy but I didn’t count on getting sick, it happens. Hopefully next week I will make up for this post, so maybe two review post next week, it depends.

In the meantime if you haven’t  voted in the poll yet, you can. It looks like French Parody one is winning.

What should be the next version?

  • Quasimodo d'el Paris (53%, 9 Votes)
  • The Dingo Version (35%, 6 Votes)
  • Other (PLEASE say what it is in the comments) (12%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 17

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