Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

I’m not strictly speaking in the interest of my own personal enjoyment or in the sense that it would give me more context but with the political and social climate in America, Hollywood or Disney really should get a new version into production.

 

Esmeralda (Maureen O'Hara) 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda (Maureen O’Hara)

 

America right now is politically divided on many, many issues  and  a big one is the issue of immigration and refugees. In some ways it’s a complex issue mainly on the bureaucracy end  but on the side of basic human decency and the fact that America is an immigrant nation  it’s pretty simple. So how does this tie into making a Hunchback movie and the necessity of one?

Esmeralda Illustration Image picture

19th century Illustration of Esmeralda

I truly can not speak to the historical aspect of the Romani in Paris in the 15th century but the book makes it sound like Paris was a Sanctuary city. This means in a sense you could look at Esmeralda as a refugee or at the very least she is an immigrant of sorts. This is only case in versions where she is a Romani and not following the book, which is fine. I suppose they could split the different and make her half French and half Romani or Spanish since Esmeralda’s father is a complete unknown. The only hint the book offers, that I can find, is Esmeralda’s father could have been a thief that left her mother before she learned she was pregnant. Then again this information is narrated by a secondary character, so it unknown how reliable this account is.

    

Esmeralda and Quasimodo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda defying Frollo by helping Quasimodo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

In any case the two major American versions that have Esmeralda as a Romani depicts her as an advocate for both her people and the “downtrodden” which aside from being her a good female role-model in these two versions, her being an advocate  great aspect to showcase to a film going population.

 

Salma Hayek as Esmeralda, 1997 The Hunchback picture image

Salma Hayek as Esmeralda,

Also unlike some other movies that cast people regardless of their race, Hunchback should be a little more set in character’s cultural backgrounds. I heard when Rogue One was coming out there was a call to boycott the movie because of the diversity the cast, same for Star Wars The Force Awakens, which is dumb.   With Hunchback their cultural backgrounds inform the characters so aside from Esmeralda and in many cases Clopin, the rest of the cast are white Europeans which could help ease some people into the movie, especially people who wanted to boycott an iconic Space Fantasy movie series.

 

Gigi Radics picture image

Gigi Radics

This means the casting of Esmeralda become extremely important. I should preface that in a perfect world, anyone could play Esmeralda but we don’t and if a movie is going to characterized Esmeralda a very specific ethnic group even though the book did not, then the movie needs to cast accordingly. This is why the casting of Gigi Radics, a Hungarian singer of Romani descent would be a masterstroke of casting. Whether or not she is available or willing to play the role is a different question.  They could always cast an unknown Romani actress to take the part.  Casting an Indian or Pakistani, or Arab actress is not quite as authentic but it a step in the right direction.

 

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

A new Hunchback  movie today who help shed some light on the current situation in America and recontextualize to people who may not think it about as much and ignore the news. It might even help  people who have little exposure to immigrants and refugees  put a human face on the issue instead of short sound bite.

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