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.   

Natalia Osipova as Esmeralda, Roberto Bolle as Quasimodo and Mick Zeni as Frollo, Roland Petit Notre Dame de Paris 2013 picture image

Natalia Osipova as Esmeralda, Roberto Bolle as Quasimodo and Mick Zeni as Frollo, Roland Petit Notre Dame de Paris 2013


This version of Hugo’s novel is very pared down to a very minimal telling of the story. You have the four principal characters: Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Frollo and Phoebus. The ballet doesn’t have  Gringoire, Clopin, Fleur de Lys, or extra characters.

As one can guess having only the love/lust plot-line it follows that trajectory and doesn’t concern its self with the subject of blight of the downtrodden, social justice or the modernity of the printing impact on architecture.

It starts with Quasimodo getting crown Pope of Fools, Frollo gets mad. Esmeralda dances to which she attracts the attention of Quasimodo and Frollo.

Frollo then has Quasimodo kidnap Esmeralda. And here is where we a deviation. After Quasimodo grabs Esmeralda they are set upon by the corps dressed in red. Now I was very confused, I had no idea what was happening. I thought it was maybe fire or that the dancers were somehow symbolic of Frollo’s lust. I didn’t know!

According to (an actually well-done review) the corps are portraying thugs. This makes sense both within the context of the ballet’s narrative and adapting Hugo’s story. In the original novel after the kidnapping, Gringoire, who was trying to help Esmeralda, is set upon by the Court of Miracles. However the thugs are now in this scene to help convey Quasimodo as more sympathetic as he is protecting Esmeralda. This adaption isn’t really necessary to story and could have been skipped but works to add more dancing which you need in a ballet.    

So after the thugs are dealt with, Phoebus then arrests Quasimodo. Phoebus notices Esmeralda and they are attracted to each other. Then Quasimodo is sentenced and Esmeralda gives him water.  Esmeralda and Phoebus have their tyst, though he flirts with whores prior and during their time together. That is to communicate Phoebus’ lack of romantic feelings towards Esmeralda and that he just in it for the sex.  He is then stabbed by Frollo. I’m pretty sure that Phoebus does in fact die in this version.

Esmeralda has her trial and is sentenced. Quasimodo then saves her from the gallows.

The second act is Esmeralda and Quasimodo bond. Frollo then attacks Esmeralda and I mean he slaps her a bunch. She is then dragged off to her death. Quasimodo strangles Frollo and then carries Esmeralda’s body away.

It is a very basic rendition of Hunchback which is fine for medium of ballet. You don’t want anything too complex but is this telling too simple? Perhaps. It is very pared down to a degree that basic disney’s knockoff have more developed story lines though that is not always a good thing. 

To be honest the narrative only works to convey mood, style and dancing and that is what this Ballet is all about. But we should address the character before getting to those points of interest.  

I have been wanting to these type of posts for a while. Basically it’s just fashions, mostly gowns, that look similar to an Esmeralda costume in someway.

Renato Balestra, Spring 2014 picture image

Renato Balestra, Spring 2014


This gown by  Renato Balestra from spring 2014, is akin to Disney Esmeralda’s costume in terms of its color story and verticality. I also like that it has a sari-like way about kind adding to appeal.

Ralph Fiennes picture image

Ralph Fiennes

This was a suggestion of one of those lists I found a while ago and truthfully this is a great casting idea. Ralph Fiennes would be a perfect  Frollo.


Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights picture image

Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights

As far as Fiennes acting prowess goes, he can played Frollo regardless of the type of Frollo the version is depicting. Whether it be sympathetic or cruel or some mixture of both.  Fiennes has a very unique ability to make his villains likable yet still very threatening. Even his hero gambit run the gambit from nice to intense.    


Ralph Fiennes picture image

Ralph Fiennes

Fiennes has a good look to play Frollo. Not only is he age appropriate to the role but he has a great bone structure for Frollo’s angular, austere yet intense face.


Ralph Fiennes picture image

Ralph Fiennes

He’s got it all. He has good look for the role, he’s age appropriate (if you care), and  he’s capable of playing a likable bad guy. Fiennes would be an  ideal casting pick for Frollo in any induration of the character.  But what do you think? Would you like to see the actor who played He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named play Frollo?



Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort from the Harry Potter franchise picture image

Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort from the Harry Potter franchise

Also the idea of the actors who played Voldemort and and  Dumbledore playing the same character makes me smile.

Way back in April 2018, I asked which  version of Hunchback should be next to review. I had a few versions of my radar, like the Dingo version and La Esmeralda. See post here

Now I did picked one a while but due to personal issues I wasn’t ready to sit down and go back down the rabbit hole. So I  put it off till now, hopefully.

Roland Petit's Notre Dame de Paris ballet picture image

Roland Petit’s Notre Dame de Paris ballet

The version that is up next was  a suggested by neala897 and it’s the Roland Petit Ballet. We will see how this goes because ballets are hard to review.

As of yet I have not watch the Ballet that will come later as I as fresh of perspective as possible.

But here is a little background information. Petit mounted Notre Dame de Paris in 1965 with music by Maurice Jarre.  Jarre was a film composer who did the music on films like Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965) and Passage to India (1984.)    I will just say one source site the ballet as debuting in 1965 and another sites 1967, the point is this ballet is from the 60s.  

So let’s get into this. I’m going to watch the version performed by the Opéra national de Paris, 1996 with Isabelle Guérin as Esmeralda, Nicolas Le Riche as Quasimodo,  Laurent Hilaire as Frollo and  Manuel Legris as Phoebus.

Who has seen this version or at least this ballet before?

(Note – The picture is from the 2013 production)

Esmeralda's iPod Commercial Lola Ponce Italian Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda’s iPod Commercial

Previously I randomly had my itunes play songs to see how often  a Hunchback song or Hunchback related song came up. By related song I mean the artist was in some way associated with a Hunchback version.

Each test consistent of 20 songs and I did five test. A total of 100 song. Here are the results, I’m only revealing the Hunchback or Hunchback related songs that played.

Test 3

-Dans nos Souvenirs by Helene Segara

– Bohemienne by Helene Segara

– Le Temps de Cathedral Seoul French Cast

– Oh L’adorable Creature from La Esmeralda

– Julie Ose by Julie Zenatti

– Dieu que la Monde Seoul French Cast

6/20 = 30%

Test 4

– Vivre Notre Dame de Paris Symphonique

– Je Voudrais une Chanson Interlude 2 by Julie Zenatti

– Le Process Notre Dame de Paris Original cast (another ringtone)

– La Monture by Chiara Di Bari Notre Dame de Paris Seoul French Cast

4/20 = 20%

Test 5

– Trommein der Stodt from Hunchback of Notre dame Berlin (note this the second time this song played)

– I’m a Priest by Daniel Lavoie Notre Dame de Paris London cast

– Overture from La Esmeralda

– Ave Maria Paien Notre Dame de Paris Symphonique

– Recitatifet et Duo: Donc Phoebus est A Monfort from La Esmeralda

– Qu’Est-ce Qu’on va Faire avec Monde by Helene Segara

6/20 = 30%

The Overall Results

22 out of 100 songs were from a Hunchback version or sung by someone associated with a Hunchback version, or 22%.


I thought this was an  interesting test. Not sure how I feel but I do have a lot of random music from over the years so maybe 22% isn’t so bad.