This was made using Azalea Dolls. Haven’t done one these posts in while and tried to go for a “spooky” Vampire Esmeralda.Follow thehunchblog
Awhile ago I did an Anti-Hypothetical Casting Post for Kim Kardashian and while she best worst choice (as far as people involved in Keeping up with the Kardashian go), Kylie and Kendall seem more topical and in the right age range to play Esmeralda.
I guess Kendall makes more sense than Kylie but honestly these two run together for me, I’m not sure which one is which. I thought of Kylie first since I tend to watch make-up/nail polish content of youtube but Kendall seems to have more a filmography and she did that social justice Pepsi commercial. So let’s just consider Kendall Jenner for this post.
I can’t pretend that I know Kendall Jenner’s acting prowess but I’m going to assume it’s low to bad. But she is a model who was on a reality show, has been in a bad music video singing about her vagina and a not self-aware soda commercial so she seems like she’ll do whatever for notoriety.
Since she “sang” in that horrible music video and since she has that Social Justice Pepsi ad maybe she could play Esmeralda in a musical version. Maybe a Disney live action version. I mean Disney likes popular people in their movies. And for some reason she is popular, I still don’t get it and I never will. Also Disney really doesn’t live Hunchback version much but wants to curtail to fans so maybe casting a reality show star turned model turned some form of celebrity is a good bet for them? You know, for money.
She does have a good look for Esmeralda. So that is one thing working for her.
But would Kendall Jenner even want to play Esmeralda? I honestly don’t know enough about her to say but maybe. Though the Pepsi commercial did cause some pushback maybe she would want to double-down on it and want to play a beautiful, desirable, social justice warrior of a repressed people. Or at least just a character who is beautiful and desirable and in some versions and known as a social justice warrior, like Disney’s version. Activist by association!
This casting idea scares me. It’s just bad. I wouldn’t want it in a so bad it’s good way. Kendall Jenner would be a bad choice. I hate it!Follow thehunchblog
What can one really say about analyzing characters in a ballet? Yes, they have some traits of the characters from Hugo’s but nothing in depth. And that is okay.
With this version of Esmeralda we get that she is flirty at least when she dances and is generally kind. She doesn’t have the innocence or superstitious streak that she has in the book but she does seem a bit shy about sleeping with Phoebus, so at least there is virginal quality of Esmeralda’s character is there in this ballet.
She doesn’t seem to fear Frollo as much until his attack on Phoebus. Unlike the book where she fears him very early on. In this ballet she does seem to be uncomfortable with his leering but it doesn’t seem like fear. This is not a big deal as many Esmeraldaa rarely fear Frollo from the onset.
Esmeralda is sweet, kind, flirtatious and tragic in this version. So we have a baseline version of Esmeralda. And for a ballet that is all she really needs to be.Follow thehunchblog
I have been watching videos of the most recent cast of Notre Dame de Paris and I noticed something about Hiba Tawaji’s portrayal of Esmeralda that was just off. It was something I couldn’t place but it was something I didn’t like. It was like she was trying to do too much but not succeeding. She just wasn’t coming off as natural but forced.
Just so we’re clear this has nothing to with her as singer or person, this is just in her acting. She is fine as a singer.
The weirdness in her acting was further noticeable when you watch the preview when the cast was announced. She is singing Bohemienne and she was coming off as sweet, happy and natural. From that video she seemed like the perfect Esmeralda. But then you watch the performance and she has a weird expression on her face and she trying to be sultry and playful and doing weird arm movements.
This led me to watch every Bohemienne performance I could find to see what the other Esmeraldas were doing since there is a bit of a disconnect from Segara’s original performance to what other Esmeraldas do with the song. I say this because I’m most familiar with Segara’s version but it’s not the standard anymore.
Bohemienne, under at least Segara, starts off mysterious and somewhat aloof. Some Esmeraldas maintain some mystery but in other parts of the song. The reason why Segara’s Esmeralda starts this way was because of changes to the lead-in to the song. In the original Frollo starts off by ordering Phoebus to arrest the refugees in which he immediately runs into Esmeralda and then she starts her song after he asks her who she is. There is a threat here with Phoebus, as he was starts pursuing her and then tries to flirt. She is aloof because she on her guard.
In subsequent versions Phoebus gets his orders, there is a scene shift and then runs into Esmeralda already dancing for the people. She is unaware of Phoebus’ orders. So the song is already upbeat and happy at the start.
Most Esmeraldas perform Bohemienne in a happy upbeat playful manner. Dancing varies but most try to move in a dancing like fashion whether or not it looks natural. Probably the best Esmeralda at conveying the spirit of a dancer and a playful flirtatious attitude is the Italian cast Original Esmeralda, Lola Ponce. She is very natural in this performance. However the trade-off is her singing suffers. While it’s not bad she does get breathy and out breath in places but you can forgive it as she commits.
Many Italian Esmeraldas follow Ponce’s example in the playful flirty persona. Some try and focus more on singing so they don’t commit as fully. Some are just less natural in their movements and you can see them aiming to hit the next mark.
Other Esmeraldas it’s just hard to tell if their happy and succeeding in the choreography because the quality of footage is bad.
So it’s a question of choreography vs singing vs an Esmeralda who is natural with their movements. It would be unfair to put the blame solely on Tawaji as the choreography is weird at times. Like when she gesturing out towards the audience, why? Or maybe she’s just not super comfortable trying to move sensually while trying to be playful, effervescent and flirtatious while maintaining good vocals. It’s a tall order if not impossible But then you watch Tawaji perform other songs in the show there is still that awkwardness with her movements so I don’t know. She could not be a very adept actress, great singer and not good in the acting department, she wouldn’t be the first singer not great at acting.
However there seems to be awkwardness with Daniel Lavoie’s movements in this version opposed to his original performance, so I really don’t know what to think. Could be the director? Or maybe this all better live and the videos are not doing the performances any justice?
The point is in the case of Bohemienne there is no right way to perform the song. The performer can be more playful, aloof, flirtatious, sensual, wistful, youthful etc. However it does seem like sometimes the minor choreography can get in the way of the performer’s natural movements and that is when an Esmeralda can look mechanical or awkward and that is something an Esmeralda should never be.Follow thehunchblog
If you like the 1977 version, I understand. I get the appeal of it. As of now it is the most book accurate movie version that exists. But being book accurate does not necessarily make for a good movie.
Accuracy to the source material can’t hide that this version is dull. From the sets, to the cinematography, to the depictions of the characters; everything is underwhelming.
Even when I first saw this movie is my early Hunchback obsession days, I thought this version was a Feast of Snores.
The good news is that I don’t think this version was out to be a seminal version. How could it be when they don’t even have even a model for Notre Dame? Or any exterior sets. It was just a version made for TV with a limited budget. I don’t think the bar was terrible high on this version. They did the best they felt like with their resources and got out another version of Hunchback.
Would I recommend you watch this? If you’re some weird Hunchback completionist, like I try to be, then yes but you might get bored like I do every single time I watch this version. And for the purposes of this review series that was a lot mostly because I forgot a lot of it even with repeat viewings.Follow thehunchblog
Disclaimer: I know very little to nothing about Medieval Fashion and even less about the Romani people. Also this post only focuses on Esmeralda and Fleur de Lys’ costumes.
On first glance Esmeralda’s costume in this version sucks. It looks like something a Juliet would wear. It’s a pink overdress with a high waistline with a dark red and gold embroidered bodice. It’s layered over a chemise with bell sleeves and embroidered armbands. She wears bangles on both wrists and has pink ribbons in her hair. It also seems like she has another gold over layer around the bodice that has some streamer-like detail going done the skirt What is this costume?
Well this could be one the worst contextually Esmeralda costumes or it could be one of the most accurate. Isn’t that a crazy thing to suggest?
Looking at art from the late 1400’s with Romani as the subject matter, they didn’t dress all that dissimilarly from White Europeans. They do seem to be wearing a cloth headdress which is exactly what we see in Caravaggio’s fortune teller painting and in Manfredi’s painting but not in Vouet’s fortune teller painting. What is in all these paintings that is in not in the earlier illustrations is the sari-like drape garment. So it would seem, at least me, that the blanket sari-like wrap was a garment worn by the Romani in the late 1500’s and not in the 1400’s. Could be wrong but given the art available, it points to that notion.
Which bring us back to the 1977 version of Esmeralda and her Juliet-ish costume. A pervasive thought is that Romani were given clothing for fortuning or what not, so Esmeralda COULD have been given this dress in exchange for pleasing some noble for her dancing. Makes a certain level of sense.
Comparing Esmeralda’s costume to Fleur de Lys’ costumes you may notice that Esmeralda’s dress has a different silhouette. Fleur’s costumes are more in keeping with the style of noble women in the 1480’s. The color for Fleur and Esmeralda’s costumes were inspired by the 1956 version of Hunchback; a red tone for Esmeralda and blues for Fleur, someday we’re going to discuss the topic of Esmeralda wearing red again, because I have more to say on that subject.
Since we’re on the topic, all Fleur’s costumes are all very beautiful in this version. She gets the fur trim and the hennin which all things that were in style for a lady of her standing in the 1480’s.
Esmeralda’s costume looks a bit more like the style from the 1450’s which had a higher waist line but was that costume designer Dorothea Wallace’s intent? Was Wallace’s aim to emulate a style from the 1450’s suggesting that Esmeralda was gifted her dress? Or is there something else operating here? Something Groovy???
Like every single period movie ever, costume design is more of a reflection of the time in which the movie is made rather than historical accuracy. It’s a truth! In the 1977 version while there is a historical silhouette that looks like Esmeralda’s movie costume, the silhouette was in vogue in the 1970’s especially with long gowns. High-waisted empire waistlines were not super popular in the late 1970’s but you did see it. Also the dull muted pink color of Esmeralda’s dress was in keeping with the muted earth tones that dominated 70’s fashion. Whereas Fleur’s costumes are light and bright in color I.E not as trendy for the decade. See another example here
Does this mean anything? In my non-expert expert opinion, I think this means the costume of Esmeralda is trying to endear the audience to Esmeralda as her costume is aesthetic pleasing to the times and Fleur de Lys’ costumes are not as trendy. Meaning the costumes are showcasing the lovable tragic heroine and the cruel rich bitch.
So while Esmeralda’s costume is a 1970’s take on Medieval style and Fleurs’ costumes are a little bit more in keeping with medieval sensibilities but are the costumes in the 1977 version good? For the most part they are good.As earlier started Fleur de Lys costumes are all lovely but Esmeralda’s costume doesn’t seem correct. This actually could be less of the fault of the costume and more with the casting. Michelle Newell is not a great casting pick for Esmeralda. This costume does showcase a sweeter Esmeralda that had not been seen since 1923 but it just doesn’t really work with the character or the attitude of the actress.
Esmeralda’s costume could have read as more accurate depiction of what a young Romani woman could have worn in the 1480’s, the reality is that her costume was just made with the 1970’s fashion aesthetics in mind.Follow thehunchblog
This suggestion came off a ideas wiki list but that list has since changed but we’re still going to go through them. Jessica Szhor is one of those actresses whom I have heard of but I have never actually seen in anything. She is most known for playing Vanessa Abrams on Gossip Girl and playing Nessa on Shameless. Otherwise she has not been in that much of note unless you like Piranha 3D, maybe it’s amazing but somehow I very much doubt it.
As the link is for a Disney remark, Szhor is being suggested as a Disney Esmeralda and I can see why. For starters her overall look is great for Esmeralda. She part Hungarian and African-American. Her eyes are also blue. All around she looks the part.
Given the actors who appeared on the suggestion list, it seemed the idea was to go for a more comedic tone rather than a dramatic one, in this capacity Szhor could work in the role. She doesn’t seem like a dramatically driven actress. Given the right direction she could play the role effectively.
Jessica Szhor would not be my top choice to play Esmeralda but it’s understandable why someone would want her to play her in a Disney remake.Follow thehunchblog
This version of Esmeralda is baffling. It’s neither good or bad. It’s super boring though. This Esmeralda hits all the marks of the plot that this version is going for; she is a gypsy dancer who likes her goat and Phoebus and doesn’t like Frollo very much. She doesn’t fear him like in the book so he is really a second thought.
This version also tries to go for the charming, doe-eyed, innocence Esmeralda, which is not very convincing. Gina Lollobrigida was also unconvincing with her lines about innocence but she had more interest and charisma. It’s just hard to separate this Esmeralda from her actress, as she is styled in a very 70’s style, her costume doesn’t look very in character, more on that later, and again she is gypsy being played by a white woman. If her name was Melody it would make the some amount of impact. I don’t feel Esmeralda’s character even though that is what being presented. More like a wax fruit than the real stuff.
It the same issues that the 1982 version had with Lesley-Anne Down, except there she was fearful and didn’t like dancing. That’s not a positive it just makes the role more the movie’s version and therefore different. This Esmeralda does have nothing that separate her from her book persona and because of the gap in the execution there is nothing there, again it’s wax fruit when instead of actual fruit. She says the lines and there nothing believable or convincing about it. It’s a very boring and dare I say by the book, No it’s like act by numbers.
There are some scene where she is believable but it’s mostly when she is being playful, like the scene with Gringoire but that is really it. It’s just boring depiction.
I think they best way to showcase this this version of Esmeralda is go watch her introduction scene when she is dancing. The camera spends more time on shots of ugly extras than her dancing. The director would rather focus on extras than the woman that all the male characters obsess over.Follow thehunchblog
Daisy Ridley for Esmeralda was suggestion by Sky. At first this made me think of Ridley to play Fleur de Lys. As much as I love Ridley’s Rey, I do want to see Ridley playing a character like Fleur, maybe as a bitch maybe not. For whatever reason I have a soft-spot for Fleur. Sure in the book Fleur has blonde hair but so does Jehan and Quasimodo has red and Esmeralda has dark eyes, why get bogged down with colorition when other movies ignore them so much? Fleur de Lys could have brown hair why not?
Given Ridley’s star in on the raise it hard to see her accepting the role of Fleur where as Esmeralda is a leading role. I could see her doing Fleur pending on other facets of the production like the director and if it was more of an ensemble piece.
So let’s consider her for Esmeralda. The only way I could see her playing the role is if they did Esmeralda’s original backstory, as in she is French raised by Gypsies, even if they did not have the whole of the Sister Gudule plot in the movie.
On the acting front I could Ridley playing the role even though she still fairly new and so far her biggest roles have been Rey in Star Wars and Mary Debenham in Murder on the Orient Express. She also playing Ophelia in upcoming movie. Not sure how Ridley would play the role but my guess it would less overtly sexual than some other actresses and portrayals but you never know.
Ridley has one big thing working for her as Esmeralda and that is her sword and fighting ability. Ridley has done a lot of strength training and fight choreography for action scenes in Star wars. Those skills could translate into some nice dance choreography.
I could see her going either way. As much as I think Daisy Ridley is cool person, she would not be my top pick for either role but if she were casted for either Esmeralda or Fleur I would happy to see her grace a Hunchback version?
What do you people think? Ridley for Esmeralda? Ridley for Fleur de Lys? Or Neither? Or Both?Follow thehunchblog