Max Ryan picture image

Max Ryan

July 2014 I discovered a movie version of the Hunchback set to stared one Max Ryan, who I have been told is an actor. This version had a script and a cast list but not much more. You can read that post RIGHT HERE. The summery I found that is now gone so reading that post is worth it. Esmeralda gets attack by wolves and Quasimodo lives in the cave of Notre Dame. I also very briefly mentioned it back in September read here  Really I had passed this verison off has never being till last month.

Back in October it was announced that Director Chuck Russell was going to direct. Russell’s credit’s include The Mask, The Scorpion King and other action adventure movies. Also on the IMDB page for this version the genre is set as “Action, Drama, Fantasy.”  Dear God help us all. Hunchback hasn’t had a hollywood movie since 1939 and we get an Action Adventure movie. Also I just want to point out that screenwriters are Max Ryan and one Julio Ponce Palmieri who writes for mostly short films.

But what REALLY puzzles me so far is that cast list on the IMDB. First off there is no sign of Esmeralda and Frollo. When I first discovered this version it listed the actors for Frollo and Esmeralda as under negotiations so that could be the reason why they are not there. But still the cast has some roles that  just confuse me like The Figment and the Giant, the Fuck you say? Also Max Ryan has a double role as Quasimodo and Pierre. Considering the summery said Quasimodo’s parents loved him and he was stolen, Pierre could be his original name OR he just playing another guy to show off his versatility as an “actor”. This version has even started filming and I hate it.

There was also a new breif on IMDB when Russell was reported as the director that claimed that this version was still the same version as Josh Brolin version and the key players just switched which is not the case. This version existed before Brolin  dreamed up his version in 2011 with Tim Burton but that switched to Yimou Zhang in 2013 and then nothing. While Brolin’s jazzy’s version seems to either be dead or in development-hell, it’s amazing how similar these movies are to each other. Both are vanity projects from generic actors who have directors known for action-ish movies. Consider Hollywood studios  has had  battles with similar movies before maybe The Max Ryan version will fuel Brolin to make his Jazzy versions. Either way I still don’t know what that Figment  character is and nor to have faith in either version.

Esmeralda Smiling, Maureen O'Hara 1939 HUnchback of Notre Dame picture image

Maureen O’Hara as Esmeralda 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

As many of you may already know, yesterday Maureen O’Hara died peacefully at her home in Idaho at the age of 95.

O’Hara has been hailed as the queen of Technicolor. Her filmography was very long and included some very well regarded movies like The Quiet Man (1952), How Green was my Valley (1940), and Miracle on 34th Street (1947), just to name a few, she had many.

Hunchback of Notre Dame was her hollywood debut and I maintain that it was the best movie version of Hunchback.

I do recommend reading her autobiography. It’s a really engaging read that captures her passionate fiery personality.

In her autobiography, written with longtime manager John Nicoletti, O’Hara wrote:

“When I was young, I didn’t think I was at all pretty. I was told only that I had a sulky, pouty face. Ironically, after I got to Hollywood, I resented that I didn’t get a crack at more dramatic role because I photographed so beautifully. More than anything, though, it was the way I used my eyes that caused audiences to look deep inside my characters to see what else was there.”

 

 

 

Demi Moore image picture

Demi Moore

Demi Moore voice Esmeralda in the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

-Her first job was a bill collector.

-She “won” Worst Actress of 1997 for her performances in the films The Juror (1996) and Striptease (1996), then again the next year she “won” Worst Actress for her role in G.I. Jane (1997). She has been nominated six times. Though could technically be seven as in 1996 she got a nomination for two movies. And also in 1996, Disney’s Hunchback came out,which poked fun at her being in Striptease.

-Hired three cameramen to videotape the birth of her first child.

Disney Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame Dance picture image

Esmeralda’s Dance Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Bonus round- In the commentary of Disney’s Hunchback the directors  said they wanted Esmeralda to sound like “she’s been around” which is why Moore was cast.

Maureen O'Hara picture image

Maureen O’Hara

Maureen O’Hara played Esmeralda in the 1939 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

-Her Stage name of O’Hara was forced on her to fit marquees.

-Named her only child Bronwyn after a character from How Green was my Valley.

-Did all her own stunts. In the seen in Hunchback were Quasimodo is holding her up to the crowd after saving her from hanging, O’Hara did that with a stunt man without a safety  net and it was cobblestone below. I believe in her autobiography she goes more into detail.

If you want to learn more about Maureen O’Hara you can read her autobiography ‘Tis Herself: An Autobiography. It’s a good read.  I recommend it.  

 

Sir Cedric Hardwicke picture image

Sir Cedric Hardwicke

Sir Cedric Hardwicke played Frollo in the 1939 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

-In 1934 Sir Cedric Hardwicke was knighted, but King George V was hard-of-hearing so he missed heard his name and dubbed him Sir Cedric Pickwick

-He played King Edward IV of England in Richard III (1955) while his son Edward Hardwicke played Lord Stanley in Richard III (1995). Also it’s worth noting, that Edward Hardwicke was in the Scarlett Letter (1995) alongside Demi Moore who voiced Esmeralda in the Disney version of Hunchback.

-His favorite screen role was playing Mr Brink in On Borrowed Time  (1939).

Frollo stares at Esmeralda's chest for 15 seconds (Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Maureen O'Hara) 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo stares at Esmeralda’s chest for 15 seconds, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Maureen O’Hara, 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Bonus round-  Hardwicke played a doctor in Sentimental Journey (1946) alongside Maureen O’Hara. He said this about the movie “I did nothing but look at the handsome bosom of Maureen O’Hara and listen to the murmuring of her heart through a stethoscope.” He also famously looked at her bosom in Hunchback.

Kevin Kline picture image

Kevin Kline

For this months, I picked five random Hunchback actors and offering three facts about them. First one, Kevin Kline who voiced Phoebus in Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame.

-He Inspired the Kevin Kline Mustache Principle where he has facial hair for comedies and clean shaven for drama. This doesn’t apply to him voice acting work as it would make The Hunchback of Notre Dame a comedy (which it is in parts) and Bob’s Burger where he plays Mr. Fischoeder, a drama which is not. Though this principle would also make Wild Wild West a drama too. (IMDB)

-His favorite restaurant in Paris is Le Duc*. (source). He is also fluent in French

Despite not singing in Hunchback, Kevin Kline studied at Juilliard and has won two Tony awards for “On the Twentieth Century” and “The Pirates of Penzance.” He also played the Pirate King in the 1983 movie version of “The Pirates of Penzance.” He also sings sometimes as Mr. Fischoeder in Bob’s Burgers, I love that show. (IMDB)

 

Just a little info on the Actor who appeared in the Wishbone version Hunchback.

Soccer the Dog as Wishbone, picture image

Soccer the Dog as Wishbone

Soccer the Dog was a veteran Jack Russell actor. He was most known for playing Wishbone on the PBS show.  He beat out 100 dog who audition for the role. He was also in many commercials for such companies like Nike  and Mighty Dog Food.

 

Larry Brantley picture image

Larry Brantley

 

Larry Brantley is a former stand-up comedian and radio spokesman. He specializes in character voices.  He currently works on Boz the bear.

Lanell Pena, picture image

Lanell Pena

 

Lanell Pena played a lot parts on Wishbone in the literary segments of the show. Mostly notably she played Scheherazade in the Wishbone version of Thousand and one nights (One Thousand and One Tails). Pena has also appears in a few television series and movie. Currently she teaches acting at A &M University and KD Studios/College.

 

Sean Hennigan, picture image

Sean Hennigan

Sean Hennigan, like Pena also played a lot parts on Wishbone in the literary segments of the show. Hennigan appeared in 24 episode of Wishbone and notably played he played a lot of the villains.  Hennigan has appeared in a lot Television shows  and he has been voice acting in anime dubs. Notably in immensely popular One Piece, Baccano! and Romeo x Juliet. he has appeared in a movies like 3:10 to Yuma.

Josh Brolin Interview for Men in Black picture image

Josh Brolin Interview for Men in Black

While promoting Men in Black III, Josh Brolin gave a short interview for Collider.com. The last question was about the upcoming Hunchback movie. He seems very excited about the project and thinks that filming will take place in either France or England. While I’m all about filming on location, Hunchback films are better when filmed on a set. Sets enable the production to create a more accurate Notre Dame as it looked in the 15th century. Both the 1923 and the 1939 were films on sets and they had amazing set design.  Also regardless of enthusiasm, I don’t see Brolin as Quasimodo. He just seems wrong in type.  While I want to say I’ll hold off judgement till I at least see a trailer, I probably won’t. I will say this though, if Megan Fox comes anywhere near this project I will boycott it.

What do you think; Josh Brolin as Quasimodo, Yay or Nay?

Watch Interview Here

Quasimodo (Lon Chaney) Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 picture image

Quasimodo (Lon Chaney) Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923

The 1923 version of Hunchback of Notre Dame starts and end with Quasimodo but he is not much of  a major player in the middle of film, between the pillory scene and saving Esmeralda. But since Lon Chaney gets top billing since it was he’s project Quasimodo is the main character.

Quasimodo points to at the Parisans Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney picture image

Quasimodo points to at the Parisans Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney

 

Quasimodo in this version is the closet to how  he behaves in the book. Quasimodo doesn’t like  the people of Paris and this version shows that in Quaismodo’s introductory scene as well as his connection to Notre Dame. You do get the feeling that his Quasimodo wouldn’t have saved Esmeralda if she hadn’t give him water, you get this Quasimodo may have not felt nothing which makes his loyalty to her more meaningful and it gives his character a bit of an arc.

 

Esmeralda patting Quasimodo on the head Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney with Patsy Ruth Miller picture image

Esmeralda patting Quasimodo on the head Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney with Patsy Ruth Miller

However this Quasimodo acts more like a dog that a person. A scene that showcases this perfectly is right after Quasimodo recuses Esmeralda she pats him on the head. This Quasimodo doesn’t see to be in love with Esmeralda he just seems to want to protect her. There doesn’t seem to the selfless love that in is the book and  Laughton captured  in the 1939 version.

 

Quasimodo on the Pillory Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney picture image

Quasimodo on the Pillory Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney

Quasimodo make-up may look outdated but it’s well done by Chaney and accurate to the Book. Also Chaney’s Quasimodo is a lot most acrobatic than other Quasimodos as Chaney was capable of jumping and climbing though stuntmen were used in a few instances but the 23 version is defiantly has most range of movement in a live-action film.

 

Quasimodo noticing his fatal wound Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney image picture

Quasimodo noticing his fatal wound Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney

If Quasimodo was meant to be the lead of the film and the emotional heart he does it well to a point. There some emotional confusion at the end of the movie and Quasimodo’s fate. I’m not sure how to feel that Quasimodo dies, sad, happy, bittersweet?

Quasimodo dying Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney pictuure image

Quasimodo dying Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney

Honestly I can’t gage any emotion from his death and I think that my problem with movie as a whole I don’t get an emotion or a heart of it. It has little vignettes of it but not in terms of a story that is based on a book with a very bittersweet ending.

 

Quasimodo looking sad Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney picture image

Quasimodo looking sad Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney

The 1923 is an odd Quasimodo because everything is there to make an compelling character and the film just misses the mark and makes Quasimodo more into a loyal puppy dog than a tragic hero.

Next Time – The 1923 Version of Esmeralda

Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame Patsy Ruth Miller 1923 picture image

Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame Patsy Ruth Miller 1923

Chris Hemsworth as Thor picture image

Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Here’s a little factoid about me that you may not know, I’m not a fan of Superhero movies.  They just have never appealed to me. However, a friend made me watch Thor  and I really liked it. I think I liked the blend of Norse mythology in a sci-fi/fantasy context but as a Hunchback fan I enjoy watching Thor’s character arch as it was like Phoebus.

Chris Hemsworth picture image

Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth is actually a relatively popular choice for a hypothecial cast of Hunchback of Notre Dame as Phoebus. And I have to agree with the popular vote here he’s really is perfect for the role. His look is good and if his performance as Thor is any indication he can play the role of Phoebus with their great smarminess or warmth (pending on the vision of the movie). Either way Chris Hemsworth would make a great Phoebus and he’s currently popular in hollywood so who know it may even happen.

Chris Hemsworth Smiling picture igame

Chris Hemsworth Smiling

 

What do you think? Do you think Chris Hemsworth would make a good Phoebus or do you think there someone better out there for the role?

Chris Hemsworth as Thor in The Avengers Picture image

Chris Hemsworth as Thor in The Avengers