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)

Ok a few things, first off I really like the costume. I like Esmeralda is blues but you can see the Disney inspiration but it doesn’t feel tacky or cheap, it feels right.

Second, I want to thank the person who gave this song back to Esmeralda. In the German version they made this song a duet with Quasimodo, which sure that is was quiet lovely but she didn’t get any other solo and even Phoebus got a solo number and he didn’t even sing in Disney version despite the fact that Kevin Kline can sing (he sings in my new favorite song Electric Love,*) not that really makes a different as Demi Moore didn’t sing for Esmeralda either.

And finally speaking of Esmeralda’s singing, I really like Ciara Renee’s voice for the role. She has a similar voice to Heidi Mollenhauer which is in turn similar to Demi Moore. A voice which has dark, almost smokey tone but with a lot of warmth.

I also think it’s interesting that Frollo is taking the Archdeacon role here which is similar to Frollo from 1982 and 1939 version. Not sure it because of this influenced by the  movies or not just interesting.

Anyway what do you think?

(I might talk about this show more if I ever do posts on other works by Hunchback actors  ^_~)

Oh and Kevin Kline is going to be in the new Beauty and Beast movie as Maurice, Mind-Blown

The Road to El Dorado picture image

The Road to El Dorado

Road to El Dorado is a 2000 American Animated movie made by Dreamworks. All and all, I wasn’t excpeting a lot out of this movie and that is pretty much what I took away from it, it was ok to tepid. I didn’t dislike it but I can’t say I liked it either.

Tulio, Miguel, and Tzekel-Kan The Road to El Dorado picture image

Tulio, Miguel, and Tzekel-Kan

The story follows two Spanish con-men, Miguel (Hamlet) and Tulio (Phoebus). They get a map to El Dorado and managed to get there. When they reach the city they are worshiped as Gods. They go along with the rouse to get a lot gold and have a little adventure. They meet a thief named Chel (Rosie Perez) who knows the truth but goes along with them and helps them out with understanding whatever Pan-Mesoamerican culture this movie is going for.

Miguel and Tulio pit the chief and the high priest named, Tzekel-Kan against each other and convince them get build them a boat. The High Chief who apparently just wants to sacrifice things to them finds out they are not gods and then attacks with some bullshit magic and them teams up with the conquistadors, but Miguel and Tulio managed to save the city from the Spaniards but they lose most of the gold but it’s cool because they are off to have more adventures in sequels that were scrapped because this movie was bomb at the box office.

Chel and Bilbo The Road to El Dorado picture image

Chel and Bilbo

First off, this movie should have annoyed me more because I took one course in college on Meso-American cultures so I’m pretty sure that makes me an expert of the subject, but seriously aside from a general look and the mention of Xiabalba, which is the Mayan netherworld and the ball game which in the Popol Voh the Hero twins do play, there isn’t a lot cultural integrity. It’s like the creators has some basic knowledge but no enough for even a half accurate portrayal. To be fair it’s not Mayan but there some strong urging that it is kinda is. Basically it’s like an Epcot pavilion, an approximation at depicting a different country/culture at it’s most basic. And gold is wasn’t really highly regarded in Meso-American culture, they liked Jade especially for the Olmec and the Maya. In fact word for gold in Aztec is teocuitlatl which means excrements of the gods. Any back to the movie….. tangent done.

Tulio & Miguel The Road to El Dorado picture image

Tulio & Miguel

The characters in this movie are all fairly likable, I didn’t have a problem with them. I wish we could have gotten to know Tulio and Miguel’s friendship origins, or Chel’s backstory or what is the deal with the high priest, he really lacked a strong motivation. We get a basis for the characters but nothing really concrete and you could make the argument that it’s for the plot that they need to sacrifice in-depth characterization but the plot and pacing were not strong, they could have added lines here or there but maybe they were saving it for sequels but did we really need 5 minutes stretchs of nothing happening like them walking to El Dorado or the ballgame at the expense of one line about why Chel wanted out of the city? Or did I miss that? It’s a nitpick as I liked the main characters well enough. The Armadillo was the best though at least we got to learn its origins and I liked the horse.

Tulio & Miguel singing It's tough to be a god The Road to El Dorado picture image

Tulio & Miguel singing It’s tough to be a god

Speaking of the scene where they walk the road to El Dorado, the songs are forgettable. I know Elton John and Tim Rice did them but I really don’t remember any of them. The characters only sing one song, “It’s tough to be a God” which I can’t recall and it’s not like I wrote this review within a few days of watching it. I recall it being bright and cute but that’s it. The other songs I know were there but I couldn’t say anything about the lyrics or melodies. Is being forgettable worse than being bad?

Tulio & Miguel The Road to El Dorado picture image

Tulio & Miguel

Then there is the animation which is really good, almost too good for the comedic tone of the film. It’s bright and colorful but they are trying very hard to make it pretty which is distracting. It should have either been a a live action movie or been goofier in the animation. Maybe hollywood should re-boot it of course if they did Miguel and Tulio would be dark and brooding which would ruin it but that what Hollywood does so whatever, seriously though Hollywood don’t, what you’re doing is bad, you should just stop.

Tulio & Miguel The Road to El Dorado picture image

Tulio & Miguel

The Road to El Dorado is at best is okay-ish and at worse tepid. It’s not bad enough to be memorable but for a fun little adventure movie it’s ok.

Ah, the voice acting in Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. Some of it’s great, some it is just ok and some of the casting is off, which seems to weaken the believability of the characters. This is more or less in the order of rank, as I see it or hear it.. yeah.. I know lame joke.


Tony Jay picture image

Tony Jay

The highlight of the voices in the movie is Tony Jay’s rendition of Judge Claude Frollo. Jay’s cold sounding baritone mixed with his british accent makes for the perfect bad guy voice. He gives Frollo’s voice an air calm control that at any second could explode into fevered anger. Also his voice is seductive, you can believe this guy is a charmer and yet he speaks with command and authority. Jay’s voice helps make Frollo a more interesting character.

Jay had been a veteran Disney voice actor and voice actor in general. He’s been in a number of Disney related films and television shows as well many other non disney films, television and recordings of broadway shows.  On his IMDB page he has 150 credits but I think he most known for Frollo mainly because Frollo is a horrible person and his voice accentuates brilliantly.

Tony Jay  was  nominated for an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Voice Acting.


Paul Kandel picture image

Paul Kandel

Paul Kandel voiced Clopin and is a Broadway performer. He’s probably the best singer in the film (the crescendo at the end of Bells of Notre Dame gets me every single time) and that’s probably why he ended up with the most songs in the movie. In fact Clopin sings more than he actually speaks. Kandel gives Clopin a sense of fun and whimsy but he also gives him a flair for the dramatics which is a boon for the introductory scene since it’s not funny.



David Ogden Stiers picture image

David Ogden Stiers

David Ogden Stiers voiced the Archdeacon. Stiers like Jay is a veteran voice actor and has been in many major Disney movies. He’s also primarily a  television actor. Stiers runs the gambit of tones  with the Archdeacon’s voice; tenderness, command, authority, concern and a little amusement (the Archdeacon sounded a little amused when he thinking about Esmeralda’s merry chase). Just because the Archdeacon is by all account a glorified extra Stiers’ voice helps makes the character more interesting.



Kevin Kline picture image

Kevin Kline

Kevin Kline voiced Phoebus. Kline does well as Phoebus but I think he falls short of Jay and Kandel because I mean really, Phoebus isn’t a hard role to play. Phoebus has a dry wit but so Kline, I mean Kline is practically playing himself.  I give Kline credit, he made Phoebus funnier than probably was originally intended which makes him more interesting as character. Because without the humor would Phoebus have been memorable? My guess is no.  Kline is also partly responsible for Achilles’ name. He insistent that horse have a name, so they gave the Phoebus’ horse a name at Kline’s insistent.


Fun Fact about Kline’s process – to get into the character of playing a knight, Kline held a sword in hand during recording sessions. He even ruined some recordings because he would hit the microphone (accidently, I’m sure.)



Jason Alexander picture image

Jason Alexander

Jason Alexander voiced Hugo. As much as I dislike the gargoyles, I think the voice acting is fine. Jason Alexander is best known as George Costanza on Seinfeld. George is uptight and neurotic, the total opposite of Hugo. Hugo is fun-loving and laid back. I think Alexander does very well in the role. But again, is a fun-loving partier a demanding role?  No, not really.



Charles Kimbrough picture image

Charles Kimbrough

Charles Kimbrough voiced Victor.  Kimbrough  has been in many types of media; film, TV and voice acting. Kimbrough does well enough as the prim, more serious-minded Victor, but it’s hard to lay out Victor’s personality compare to Hugo and Laverne. So it’s hard to identify how well Kimbrough did as Victor.




Mary Wickes picture image

Mary Wickes

Mary Wickes voiced Laverne. Later in Wickes’ career she played cranky old ladies. Two of the movies I remember her in were Little Women (Aunt March) and Sister Act (Sister Mary Lazarus), both characters are tell-it-like-it-is, cranky old ladies much like Laverne. So while she does well in the role she definitely playing her type of role.




Jane Withers picture image

Jane Withers

I want to mention Jane Withers briefly. Mary Wickes died as the film was being recorded and so Jane Withers stepped in to finish the recording and took over the role of Laverne. There are some lines where Wickes started and Withers finished, which is testament to Withers; acting to able to sound almost identical to Wickes.




Tom Hulce picture image

Tom Hulce

Tom Hulce voiced of Quasimodo. Tom Hulce is most known for his role in Amadeus Mozart. I do not find any fault with Hulce’s acting, I think he does a good job giving Quasimodo tenderness, gentleness and a bit of pitiable emo-ness. I also think Hulce does well exhibiting both Quasimodo’s natural disposition and in contrast to his attitude when he’s with Frollo.  So Why is Hulce’s performance second to the last on this Blog post? Well that is because I wonder what the directors were smoking in making  Quasimodo a school boy that’s gentle and sweet. Quasimodo is suppose to be gentle but only to Esmeralda. He’s not suppose have a school boy. I can understand why Disney did this and I understand why Hulce’s voice is good for this type of role but just because I can understand it doesn’t mean I have to condone it. Honestly they made Quasimodo into a Disney Princess. Hulce has a clear voice which is a commonality to the Disney Princess trope. Think about, Quasimodo is a Disney princess, he just a male and not very pretty.


Demi Moore image picture

Demi Moore

Demi Moore voiced of Esmeralda.  Like Quasimodo, I think casting was way off. I get that they wanted something different. The directors liked Moore’s husky and rough tone of voice and they liked that she also had a tenderness to it, but Moore ages the character. It’s weird looking at the concept art, how youthful Esmeralda started and how mature she looks/acts in the movie. I understand that the decision to cast Moore was intentional and as part the process of animation is that Esmeralda took on Moore’s looks and mannerism but I don’t think the pay off was good in the long run. I think Esmeralda is too much like Moore and effectively Moore was playing herself  (or at the most her type-cast role) so she didn’t exactly have to exert her acting prowess. Also I think Moore got the role due to sex appeal and popularity. And point Deductions for being the only one of the cast not able to sing her character’s song, though if can’t sing than she can’t sing, but they could have just had Heidi Mollenhauer do the role in it enitety, she is an singer/actress after all. They fact they they didn’t just mean that Moore was cast for her popularity and appeal.


Shout Outs/Kudos to:

Gary Trousdale picture image

Gary Trousdale



-Shout out/Kudos to Gary Trousdale voice of Djali (that not a bleat) and the Old Heretic.



Corey Burton picture

Corey Burton

Bill Fagerbakke picture image

Bill Fagerbakke






-Shout out/Kudos to Corey Burton and Bill Fagerbakke, Brutish and Oafish Guards these two made those characters hilarious.



Agree or Disagree, I’d love to know your opinions


Next Time- Going to Start Looking  Music/Songs,  starting off with beginning “The Bells of Notre Dame”

Next Character – Phoebus – Auxiliary Hero?

Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Part of Disney’s formula to success for their films  of the 90’s are archetypes. You have the hero/heroine, villain, sidekicks both good and evil, some kind of parental figure and some kind of larger than life characters that’s usually one of the side kicks (they’ll usually get the show stopper of the film). Of course these are not set in stone, different characters are given different presidencies. So how does Phoebus fit into the Disney’s archetypes? That’s a good question, he’s not the hero that’s Quasimodo. He’s not the villain, Frollo fits very snugly into that role. He’s not the heroine – wrong sex.  He’s not an annoying sidekick- the film already exhausted that one. He could be a villain sidekick as he worked for the villain but those are usually goofy or bumbling if a villain gets one at all and plus he not villainous. He’s kind of parental in the way he encourages Quasimodo but he’s not that archetype either. Mmmmmm, I’m out of archetypes. Well I guess Phoebus is the Auxiliary Hero. He does heroic stuff but all the credit goes to Quaismodo but Phoebus gets the girl. I guess Phoebus gets a better deal “half the work and a girlfriend.” Better luck in the sequel Quasi.

Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre dame

Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus is a weird character in the realm of the Hunchback adaptions: sometimes he’s the hero, sometimes he’s an asshole, sometimes he just a plot point, sometimes you hardly notice him and sometimes he’s not even there. In this way Phoebus is like Pierre Gringoire. The differences between the two is Gringoire is a coward not a jerk and sometimes he’ll be the story teller.  Now for the people who have only seen the Disney film, Gringoire is not in the film but his characterization was split between Clopin and Phoebus.


Phoebus and Achilles Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

Phoebus and Achilles

Phoebus and Frollo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus and Frollo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus noticing Esmeralda "Disgusting Display" Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus noticing Esmeralda's "Disgusting Display"







We’ll get back to thought in a bit but let’s look a Phoebus a little. Phoebus (voiced by Kevin Klein) is a nobel who is a captain in the army. At the start of the film he gets a promotion to Captain of the Judges’ Guards which means he has to  “take care” of Gypsies. This evidently wasn’t in the job description because he had no idea what he signed up for and he’s annoyed to come back from the wars to deal with beggars, street performers and fortune tellers. Phoebus has a dry wit, a lot of integrity and morality (He’s the male Esmeralda). He has a very different look than most disney men – he’s older and has facial hair (a first for Disney).   He falls for Esmeralda very early in the film when he first sees her dancing and is further interested when he sees her “conflict aversion” skills (the chase scene).

Phoebus executed Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus about to be executed Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus and Esmeralda Kiss Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus and Esmeralda Kiss Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus and Quasimodo warn Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus and Quasimodo warn Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame







He saves Esmerlda from Frollo by saying  that she claimed sanctuary which she never did. Phoebus proves to be of the hero variety when he stands in opposition of Frollo’s mad man antics. Phoebus is ordered to burn down a house of a family who accused of harboring Gypsies with the family inside. Phoebus doesn’t compile and saves the family. Because Frollo doesn’t take kindly to people not obeying his every little insane whim, Phoebus is to be executed. Esmeralda creates a distraction and Phoebus tries escape on Frollo’s horse but is shot and falls into a river and Esmeralda has to save him agian. Esmeralda takes him to Notre Dame for safety. It’s there where they share the longest Disney kiss (over 30 seconds). After Frollo announces he going to attack the Court of Miracles, Phoebus unwittingly encourages Quasimodo to warn Esmeralda and the rest of the Gypsies. So they find the Court of Miracle and after a brif encourter with the noose, he and Quasimdo warn the Gypsies to leave but Frollo shows up and arrests everyone. So Phoebus is to be executed after Esmeralda but luckily Quasimodo saves Esmeralda and Phoebus escape his cage and rallies the people to fights against Frollo. Phoebus then saves Quasimodo from falling off Notre Dame and happy ending are shared by all (except Frollo).

Captured Phoebus and Clopin Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Captured Phoebus and Clopin Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus Rallies the People Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus Rallies the People Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus and Esmeralda Happy Ending Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus and Esmeralda Happy Ending Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame







So Phoebus is a hero but Quaismodo is the focused hero  and the film never wants you to forget that. Back to the thought of Phoebus filling in as Gringoire. Gringoire in the book has the best relationship with Esmeralda and that’s why so many of the films place these two together more than the Phoebus/Esmeralda relationship.   The rallying of  the people and helping Esmeralda are   things that Gringoire exhibits. One of the deleted songs from the Disney version called  “As Long as there a Moon” and it occurs right after Esmeralda saves Phoebus and Quasimodo from Clopin’s fun. It was supposed to be a love song for Phoebus and Esmeralda and  it included a wedding ceremony where they smashed a pitcher. So Phoebus takes on Gringoire in this delated scene. The reason why it was delated is because the  directors felt it took the focus off of Quasimodo but it really did throw off the pacing of the film

Phoebus – Hey Frollo’s coming leave now,

Clopin – Ok, but let’s have a wedding first,

Phoebus – Well that’s sensible

Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus and Quasimodo Hug Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus and Quasimodo Hug Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda and Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda and Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame







Phoebus is a very mallable character that can be used to carter to the whims of the movie. In the Disney film he’s a  male Esmeralda (think about it, they’re the same) he does everything Esmeralda does, stand for the same things, gets into the same scrapes as she does and is an agent of Quasimodo’s liberation.  In book Phoebus is not that static of character, Phoebus changes in his regard for his fiancee Fleur de Lys. In the Disney movie he has a change, which was defying Frollo’s authority but from the word go he was never keen on Frollo’s politics so it was only matter of time (a day) for that insubordination to occur. Phoebus a fun character and he did prove necessary for the story that Disney was telling.

Next Character – Clopin

Clopin Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Clopin Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame







Tell me who your favorite character from Disney Hunchback? Just Leave a comment or just leave a comment about any old thing that you want to say about Phoebus or the Hunchback in general. Until Next Time!

Today is Quasimodo Sunday ( Low Sunday… First Sunday after Easter)

So since Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame is character driven let’s look at the main characters.

Quasimodo Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image


First let’s start with the titular character Quasimodo (Tom Hulce). Quasimodo is depicted as caring, gentle, kind, shy and dreaming of something beyond his sheltered life (classic Disney Princess erm hero). At first all he wants is to spend one day among the people of Paris and sings about it ala Part of that World type song. When someone shows him kindness he answerx with loyalty. He does has a bit of an emo-side. Later in the film he hopes for love but that doesn’t come to fruition but he is happy that Phoebus and Esmeralda have each other and that is enough for him at the end of the film.


Judge Claude Frollo Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Judge Claude Frollo

The next important character is Frollo (Tony Jay). Frollo is a hypocritical judge who HATES gypsies, He regards them as the reason why Paris is going to hell in hand-basket. He sees no harm in killing people especially ugly babies if he views in the best interest of “justice”. He also has a pious streak, which he quite proud of.  During the course of the movie he develops an unhealthy obsession with Esmeralda where he uses tons of public funds to barrack her in Notre Dame and when she escapes he set Paris ablaze and then blames it other people because hey he just doing his job (it’s a good thing King Louis IX is not a main character or somebody would have been fired).


Esmeralda Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image


Djali Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image


Esmeralda (Demi Moore), the beautiful Gypsy dancer, who is often referred to as girl but she comes off as older than Quasimodo who is 20. She is kind and has a fierce sense of justice and loyalty. She knows a wide assortment of parlor tricks that she can use in a pinch. She also can read palms though she is is a dancer by trade. Esmeralda is always accompanied by her pet Goat Djali. Djali turn offs include heights, ugly faces and hangings. Turn ons include dancing, money, and eating wood cravings.



Phoebus and Achilles Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Phoebus and Achilles

Phoebus (Kevin Kline), another attractive character, Phoebus has been called back from the wars by Frollo to protect Paris from the Gypsies; an assignment he takes with major annoyance and a grain of salt. He has a dry wit and is a flirt but he also has a high sense of morality and won’t kill people just because crazy old Frollo says so. He also has a horse named Achilles who enjoys heeling and sitting on people he doesn’t care for.


Clopin Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image


Clopin (Paul Kandal) , the leader of the Court of Miracle and the story teller. He is an extrovert who loves to have a good time whether it’s entertaining small children, all of Paris at the festival of fools  or hanging trespassers. Where Clopin is the party is.


Hugo Laverne, Victor Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Hugo Laverne, Victor

Gargoyles, the comic relief characters Victor (Charles Kimbrough), Hugo (Jason Alexander) and Laverne (Mary Wickes/Jane Withers). The three only come to life for Quasimodo and once for Djali. They have their distinctive personality, Victor is prim and calm, Hugo is loud and fun loving, and Laverne is old and tells it like it is. There loyal to their pal Quasimodo and to encourage him to follow his heart. But they’re annoying as all hell.


Archdeacon Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image


Archdeacon (David Ogden Stiers), the kind, caring, gentle, wise Archdeacon of Notre Dame. As Archdeacon he has some authority over Frollo and Frollo while not happy is at least compliant. He the one who guilts or rather scares into taking care of Quasimodo.


Next Time more on the more characters of Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame