Vamp Vampire Esmeralda Halloween 2018 picture image

Vamp Esmeralda

Happy Halloween.

This was made using Azalea Dolls. Haven’t done one these posts in while and tried to go for a “spooky” Vampire Esmeralda.

Britney Spears picture image

Britney Spears

This was a suggestion by Roman. I suppose for this suggestion to make sense we are going to have to posit that this casting would have to occur in the early 2000s, like after 2002 with Spears’ film debut in Crossroads but before she gave up her dream to be a film actress because Spears had the good sense to not pursue that path.


Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake picture image

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake

Spears did have enough influence prior to her break-down that she COULD have play rich-bitch Fleur de Lys though it might have depended on the style of Hunchback. Like if it was all star cast for a teenage MTV demographic. So maybe Justin Timberlake as Quasimodo, Freddie Prinze Jr as Phoebus, Shannon Elizabeth or Eliza Dushku  as Esmeralda, Ashton Kutcher as Gringoire and Paul Rudd as Frollo. You know, a 90s/2000s teen comedy take on Hunchback. That sounds abysmal and yet I would have to watch that train-wreck of an idea while at the same time cursing the heaven for allowing to exist.


Britney Spears in the Work B**ch music video picture image

Britney Spears in the Work B**ch music video

So Britney Spears as Fleur de Lys? Well that best I can say for that idea is at least she’s blonde. Fleur de Lys has long been cast as blonde to counter Esmeralda’s dark hair, however it’s mentioned in the book that she has blonde hair and that she wears sky-blue.   So Britney Spears fits that important hair color criteria.


Britney Spears as Lucy in Crossroads picture image

Britney Spears as Lucy in Crossroads

As for acting, well Crossroads was nominated for a lot awards, mostly Razzies of which Spears herself won worst actress and worst song.  But is playing a jealous bitch all that hard? Could Spears have pulled it off? As far as Fleur de Lys goes in other versions, I often find her delightful. I think there is an art to making a unlikable character come off as interesting and in some way likable. Whether it was a case of the acting other characters or just her actresses, Fleur de Lys would have been out of Spear’s range as an actress. That isn’t saying much  as her other film rolls were a Flight attendant in Longshot which was a cameo, in the music video “Boys” in  Austin Powers in Goldmember, a cameo in  Pauly Shore is Dead and finally a cameo in Fahrenheit 9/11. She also had a cameo on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.   Not sure if you noticed a pattern. She did cameo as herself, not acting.  She can’t act and didn’t try after Crossroads.

However not being able to act hasn’t stopped other would be actors. To be fair she did fake the world with her early days innocent act.  Maybe Spears could have played Fleur as herself? Like if there was a case to cast Spears as Fleur de Lys, then the project would have been less about the characters and plot and more about the notoriety of the casting so it wouldn’t have mattered if she could act or not. The name would have been enough.


Britney Spears picture image

Britney Spears

Fortunately, Spears hasn’t been in a movie in since 2004 even as cameo and I don’t think any studio would take a depressing book and make a rom-com for teenagers using former “it” celebrities. But the idea of it is super cringe-inducing.

But what do you think? Could you stomach the idea of Britney Spears in a version of Hunchback? 

Mick Zeni as Frollo, Roland Petit Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Mick Zeni as Frollo, Roland Petit Notre Dame de Paris

Given this version characterization of Esmeralda and Quasimodo it’s not surprising that there is very little to this Frollo outside of what the plot demands.

He is a priest who lusts after Esmeralda. He doesn’t feel any guilt over feeling lust towards Esmeralda versus his lofty opinion of himself because of his position as a priest. He could have been spurned jealous lover of hers who happened to be a priest and it wouldn’t have changed anything as the ballet presents his character.

Basically there is not much here outside of Frollo slapping Esmeralda during his assault on her that is different. Not sure how I feel about that but he did attack her in the book so the slap was a clear visual for the ballet, so it’s at least understandable and the action does make Frollo more contemptible as a villain.   

And a villain is what he is. It’s very black and white with no shades of gray. It’s a boring rendering of the character.

Unless this ballet is super-coded and there is more expressed in the characterization  and I don’t understand it because I don’t understand the language and gestures of ballet. But, if that was true then the bitch slap would not have been necessary, so this is just boring yet oddly violent version of Frollo.  

Again I should just say that for the medium of ballet this type of characterization is fine. It does what it needs to.

John Cena picture image

John Cena


Sometimes bad casting isn’t about a terrible actor or a celebrity pretending to be an actor, sometimes it just bad casting. Like the absolute wrong person for the role and John Cena would make a terrible Frollo.  


John Cena picture image

John Cena

John Cena is a WWF personality. He’s been in a few movies but they seem more like  comedies and action thrillers than dramas based on literary classics (or based on classic Hollywood movies.)  Being in the WWF means he is an actor but he is not a heel (bad guy,) he is a face (good guy). I learned those terms from GLOW, I’m not much one for wrestling.  So I least hope that I got that he is a face and not a heel correct. The point is he is already not believable as a brooding, lustful control freak.

So why would I bring up Cena for Frollo and not Phoebus as he looks like a Phoebus. Well that’s the point. Can you imagine a buff conventional attractive Frollo? Can you imagine a Frollo looking like a the cover-art of a smutty romance book? The answer is yes and no since we sort of already got that in the 1956 version. Alain Cuny was the wrong type but not as extreme as Cena. The point is Cena as Frollo would not be believable as Frollo and it wouldn’t matter even if he gave an amazing performance.


John Cena picture image

John Cena

But could Cena even give an amazing performance as Frollo? From what I have seen maybe BUT most likely no. The WWF is all about being big and over-the-top and actors playing Frollo rarely are allowed to go that big in their performance.  Maybe a big over-the-top Frollo who doesn’t hide his emotions but yells a lot would be good? Doesn’t seem like Frollo though.


John Cena picture image

John Cena

So an attractive  overly emotional Frollo?  That sounds more like Gaston than Frollo but then again we got two versions of Frollo that were Gaston knock-offs. So John Cena could play Frollo in the Live action version of the Enchanted Tales Version of Hunchback.

Oh dear God! That would be awful. The idea of that makes me psychically ill. There is the horror of this casting. It’s not just Cena would be woefully unfit to play Frollo but that there is actually an iteration of  Frollo that he could play convincingly.


John Cena picture image

John Cena

At least there is no chance of the Enchanted Tales version getting any sort of attention. At least Hollywood can’t be that cruel. Can it? Unless it would be to make money at a loss, which I mean would be a great idea if the idea to make money on a flop.  But as a standard film version John Cena, darling of The WWF, would make a terrible Frollo in all aspects of the character.

Natalia Osipova as Esmeralda & Roberto Bolle as Quasimodo, Roland Petit Notre Dame de Paris Ballet picture image

Natalia Osipova as Esmeralda & Roberto Bolle as Quasimodo


If I had to venture a guess, I’d say this version of Quasimodo is more in keeping with the Laughton version. Indeed this Quasimodo falls into the more sad, devoted thoughtful brand of  Quasimodo.

There is nothing in this characterization  that is morose or hateful to the masses but nothing that worships Notre Dame either. Instead it seems like this Quasimodo wants to be a normal person and is devoted to Esmeralda.

Not a major departure for the character but you rarely see a Quasimodo trying to stand straight and failing. 

All in all it’s a very safe approach to the character. Time tested and audience approved.  People like the emotional pathos of the tragic disfigured figure of Quasimodo  and this is the characterization the ballet offers. 

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.

Kendall Jenner picture image

Kendall Jenner


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.


Kendall Jenner in a Lil Dickie Music video picture image

Kendall Jenner in a Lil Dickie Music video

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.


Kendall Jenner picture image

Kendall Jenner

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.


Kendall Jenner picture image

Kendall Jenner

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!  


Kendall Jenner picture image

Kendall Jenner

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!

Isabelle Guerin as Esmeralda Roland Petit Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Isabelle Guerin as Esmeralda Roland Petit Notre Dame de Paris

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.

Tommy Wiseau picture image

Tommy Wiseau

This idea both horrifies and excites me, so it’s perfect. It’s like the pope of fools in  movie form. So let’s break down idea of Tommy Wiseau playing Quasimodo.     


Tommy Wiseau the Room picture image

Tommy Wiseau

In  Greg Sestero’s book, The Disaster Artist, Sestero referenced to Wiseau looking like “the Hunchback of Notre Dame following corrective surgery.”  So the groundwork for this idea is already in place. Also let’s not forget that Wiseau has already funded one passion project with The Room, which has given him a lot of notoriety and has spun a cult following with midnight showings, a hit book about the production and an Oscar nominated movie based on the book based on the production of The Room. If he wanted to play Quasimodo he could, he doesn’t need to go through a studio, he already has one. And it’s a two in one deal because he could get Sestero to play Phoebus, because of course he would.    Side note Sestero was in Best F(r)iends with Wiseau, so they are like a package deal.


Tommy Wiseau in Best F(r)iends picture image

Tommy Wiseau in Best F(r)iends


But the question is would Wiseau even want to play Quasimodo? Well as has been stated by me, many, many  times, Quasimodo is a dream role for men to play. It’s both super psychically demanding and very emotional. So If Tommy wanted to show the world that he could play a serious role why not Quasimodo? I mean he was already liken to Quasimodo so why not just lean  into it and play him.

Also Quasimodo is from a famous French novel and Wiseau in the past has pretended to be French. So it could give some French cred.    

Tommy Wiseau in The Room picture image

Tommy Wiseau in The Room

Now if you have watched The Room, or The Neighbors, or Best F(r)iends or anything else he has been in or done, Wiseau has a weird cadence to his voice and a weird way of saying things that did in  fact turn The Room into a comedy. Since Quasimodo is deaf, Wiseau’s unique voice could add something to the role. What it could add? I don’t know what but I would be curious see it.


Tommy Wiseau picture image

Tommy Wiseau

One the hand this casting would be so bad but I still would HAVE to see it and not going to lie, it might be so bad that it’s good again although still scary. I dread the idea but it might be amazing in all the wrong ways. 

Would you watch a Wiseau version of Hunchback?

Also here is a challenge, for Halloween this year dress-up as Tommy Wiseau as Quasimodo, Here is a tommy Wiseau wig or you can just dress-up as Tommy Wiseau from the Room. 


Season 3 of The Good Place has started and in the primer episode there is a Man who Laughs Reference.  Well not so much a reference as it’s right there in the frame.

William Jackson Harper as Chidi Anagonye The Good Place Season 3 Episode 1 Everything is Bonzer picture image

William Jackson Harper as Chidi Anagonye

Moral philosopher, Chidi, is going through another existential panic. He takes to the University library and takes out a myriad of books one being “The Man who Laughs” by Victor Hugo. Though the main joke of this scene is Chidi holds up a book by The Chocolate Rain guy called Chocolate Book, The Man who Laughs sits front and center. You can’t miss it.

I’m not sure what this means. Could be superficial advice for the character? The production people just like the book? Foreshadowing?  Or it good have a deeper meaning?  Not sure.


Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda and Martin Giroux as Phoebus Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda and Martin Giroux as Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda & Martin Giroux as Phoebus

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.

Hiba Tawaji singing Bohemienne picture image

Hiba Tawaji singing Bohemienne

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.


Helene Segara as Esmeralda and Patrick Fiori as Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda and Phoebus Notre Dame de Paris

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.


Lola Ponce as Esmeralda Italian Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Lola Ponce as Esmeralda Italian Notre Dame de Paris

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.            


Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda & Jay as Clopin Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda & Jay as Clopin


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.