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Tim Burton And Josh Brolin To Bring The Hunchback... Back!

Nordling here.

Charles Laughton's classic performance in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME is a thing of beauty.  Sensitive, strong, passionate, and tragic, his Quasimodo is simply his signature role, and the film's a certified clasic.  Seeing it at BNAT this past December was just wonderful and I loved seeing it with that crowd.

It's been remade a few times over the years, including in a Disney animated musical that I quite liked, actually.  Now it seems Tim Burton and Josh Brolin want to bring the classic Victor Hugo tale to the screen again, with Brolin playing the Hunchback, according to Hollywood Reporter.

There's an obvious physicality to the role that Brolin would embody, and Burton is currently developing DARK SHADOWS so he would not be able to jump into pre-production immediately.  The script is being developed by Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney, who most recently wrote the SHERLOCK HOLMES sequel GAME OF SHADOWS.  Brolin is also producing the film.  It's not certain if Burton will direct or not, but considering his film catalog this would seem right up his belfry, so to speak.

Josh Brolin seems an interesting choice for the part.  He's not someone I would have considered for a remake of this, but I have no doubts he could turn in a good performance.  The last film he did with makeup, JONAH HEX, didn't do too well both financially or critically, and so maybe Brolin wants to give this kind of performance another try.  As this project develops further, it would be interesting to see the cast they get for this film.  I'm wondering who they would cast as Frollo, especially - the one actor that comes to mind is Christoph Waltz.  We'll see how this goes.

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 28, 2011, 8:57 p.m. CST


    by MMacKK

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 8:58 p.m. CST


    by CrazySlasher

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 8:58 p.m. CST

    in this

    by CrazySlasher

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 8:58 p.m. CST


    by VitaminZ

    Just no.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 8:59 p.m. CST


    by Darkman

    A Burton movie that would revolve around story rather than overly colorful sets. <br><br> I still respect him, but this is just what the doctor ordered. <br><br> And can you imagine an Elfman score for this? It'd probably put BLACK BEAUTY to shame.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9 p.m. CST


    by GrapeFruit

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9 p.m. CST

    Christopher Waltz

    by Jon Brand

    him and jon hamm equal most overhyped actors of all time.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9:03 p.m. CST

    but seriously

    by Jon Brand

    no interest in all.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9:03 p.m. CST

    Why was I not made of stone like thee?

    by zinc_chameleon

    Broke my heart when I first saw it as a little kid. And modern movies don't have a corner on dirty, cruel settings. 13th century Paris was really, really rough. You're right about this being Charles Laughton's signature role.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9:03 p.m. CST


    by dopepope

    Cause he's gotta be in it somehwere.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9:13 p.m. CST


    by SebastianHaff

    Burton never does anything original anymore. For over a decade now everything he's done's been a remake or an adaptation. What the fuck ever happened to stuff like Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Nightmare Before Christmas, etc? Even Mars Attacks was only very loosely adapted from those old trading cards. But fuck man, ANOTHER Hunchback? Just like we needed ANOTHER Alice in Wonderland? Guy's so goddamn talented, and yet he continues to phone it in. <p><br> Also, he's too old to shop at fucking Hot Topic.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Charles Laughton owned this role BUT

    by golden tribw

    people always fail to mention the incredible power of the original book, Victor Hugo's NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS (named after the *church* not the hunchback). His prose, even in translation, is beyond scintillating; that book is easily one of the very best in English literature.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9:13 p.m. CST

    ok im wine-drunk ... i meant all of literature

    by golden tribw

    not english literature, and i can't speak on french literature because i'm not french

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9:16 p.m. CST

    I wanna see Josh Brolin

    by Juggernaut125

    take on the role of Lex Luthor in the next Superman movie.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9:25 p.m. CST

    I've got a hunch...

    by justmyluck

    ... this story's been done to death. A grayed-out goth fifteenth C. France and the Notre Dame church tower would suit Burton perfectly, but that's still just more of the same-old, same-old. Laughton's Quasimdo was incredible, and disfigurement and pathos are actor-y, so I can see why a performer like Brolin would want to take a crack at it. The Disney version from '96, minus the musical numbers and cutesy stone gargoyles, could have really been something, considering the expressionist animation here and there. Burton would probably take it in that direction, so perhaps not the worst idea for him to remake THOND.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9:25 p.m. CST

    Why does everyone say Tim Burton has imagination?

    by BobParr

    He remakes movies and adds a lot of special effects. He's a total hack!

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9:33 p.m. CST

    The Disney animated version is MAGNIFICENT

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    I honestly think it's the best animated feature they may have released in the 90's, and for all of the gargoyle comic schtick, it's DARK AS FUCK for a Disney cartoon (the G-rating is a joke). It's a cartoon where the villain's motivation is a RAGING HARDON for the heroine (the smokin' hot Esmeralda), and has that super-kinky moment where he sniffs her hair while she snarls "I know what you were imagining!" That film deserves serious props, and is tragically underrated just because it wasn't a Lion King-level box office smash. And Alan Menken's song score is spectacular.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9:38 p.m. CST

    Cast Steve Buscemi as the Hunchback and save on makeup appliances.

    by Nasty In The Pasty

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9:39 p.m. CST

    He should do ROBIN HOOD!

    by dopepope

    cause we need another one of those.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 9:51 p.m. CST

    waltz fucked it up in the green hornet....

    by LegendarySpartanBlood

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:03 p.m. CST

    More props for Disney's 'BACK.

    by blackwood

    I went on a Disney kick recently. HUNCHBACK holds up exceptionally well. Even the 'wacky' gargoyles aren't terrible. Sure, it ends on a message of tolerance and everybody lives (spoiler), but it Goes To Places, very surprising for a Disney flick. It's also gorgeous, still. I feel it must have been someone's passion project, because they got enough of it daringly right.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:05 p.m. CST

    This and The Man Who Laughs...

    by slouchy

    ...should be kept mercifully out of the hands of that talentless fucktard Burton.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:14 p.m. CST

    Mickey Rourke

    by Gwynplaine

    Would make a great Quasimodo. For real.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:15 p.m. CST

    Next movie the three little pigs only gothie

    by edwardpenishands

    What the fuck happened Tim. Did you run out ideas half way through your career.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:26 p.m. CST

    Tim Burton's become a parody of himself

    by TheSeeker7

    I really hate to say it, because I had a lot of respect for the guy, but remember when he used to make original stories? And not just be a remake factory for obviously weird stuff? It's like there's not even nuance to it anymore, a remake pops up for anything remotely odd or macabre -- only a matter of time til you hear Burton is attached.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:30 p.m. CST

    Why be original and weird when...

    by Dr. Egon Spengler

    you know you'll get a guaranteed, sizable pay day from this directorial effort? The almighty dollar wins again. Money > Originality in Hollywood.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:31 p.m. CST


    by dukeroberts

    Since Tim Burton is involved Frollo will more than likely be portrayed by Johnny Depp. I'm not so much interested in Frollo as I am in who will play Esmerelda. I'm thinking Monica Bellucci, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Paz Vega, Kimberly Kardashian...who will don the gypsy outfit? The Disney version is pretty damn great. I haven't watched it in years. Maybe I will rectify that situation sometime this week. The Charles Laughton version is great too, but you're all forgetting the masterful Lon Chaney version. That movie wrecked his body due to the rigging and prosthetics he made for it. There's no way Burton can touch that or the Laughton version. Has anyone ever seen the Anthony Quinn version? I have not.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:35 p.m. CST


    by DJB

    I'm into it. Brolin's a badass and I don't care what you say, BURTON is the master of a specific style. If you don't like it; go see some other film. I personally am a huge fan of Burton and Elfman. THEY RULE!!! Someone mentioned how KICKASS Disney's Hunchback was and I TOTALLY agree! I STILL watch the shit out of that movie.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:37 p.m. CST

    Hate to say TB has sold out... but he's working

    by theonecalledshoe

    hard at stuff right now. I could imagine brolin voicing the hunchback and that's about it. I'd like to see burton do a sci-fi pic and i don't mean frankindog or whatever it's called.

  • Beetlejuice might be the last one. The rest have been based on existing films, shows, comics, broadway shows.....

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:49 p.m. CST

    say bobo vision... is if fair to compare to M night?

    by theonecalledshoe

    just a thought.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:51 p.m. CST

    theonecalledshoe....I think M Night burned out quicker....

    by Bobo_Vision

    ...because while Burton has done a lot of remakes or films based on existing material, he's probably done more decent pics than M Night....however, M Night has probably done more original films....(or he just ripped off more obscure properties or Twilight Zone episodes)...

  • They're both great actors, but I'm sick of seeing them in every Burton film. Why doesn't he reuse actors like Jeffrey Jones or Michael Keaton? Did Burton and Keaton have a falling out or something?

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:53 p.m. CST

    Oh wait, I forgot Edward Scissorhands

    by Bobo_Vision

    I liked that movie...oh shit, and Ed Wood, too....Ed Wood was his last decent original film...not Beetlejuice...

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:53 p.m. CST

    For fuck's sake!!!

    by inkingeekX

    When will Burton stop assfucking all the things I love? More importantly, when will people stop loving him so much-he's a fucking hack-he's made 2 1/2 good movies! Hey, mr. Burton? Not everything needs you to redo it in your "unique, visionary style"(incidentally, filming a new movie on the same set you used for the last one, isn't making art-it's being lazy). Fuck this assclown in the ear! Christ I hate Tim Burton!

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:54 p.m. CST

    Rant over

    by inkingeekX

    My apologies if I've offended anyone(except you, Burton, you fucking hack)

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 10:55 p.m. CST

    I saw Michael Keaton on Letterman a few year back saying....

    by Bobo_Vision

    ...that he calls Burton every once in a while urging him to do a Beetlejuice sequel. Perhaps Burton got tired of the calls. It's kind of sad.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Big Fish

    by OldDickLemon

    Has no one seen Big Fish? Original and strong performances throughout. Vastly overlooked film.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 11:11 p.m. CST

    Keyser Söze is the modern day hunchback.

    by Bob Cryptonight

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 11:20 p.m. CST

    Speak up prisoner. The Judge is deaf.

    by TheJudger

    Judge: "You are accused of disturbing the peace, abducting a woman, and resisting the kings guard. What is your defense. Quick and to the point." --"Kazeeemotto~!" Judge: "Do you plead guilty?" --"25 next month! Judge: "For that you shall be whipped." --"Bell Ringer Noter-Ray-Dam!"

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 11:25 p.m. CST

    Tim Burton's got to eat...

    by Andrew Coleman

    He keeps remaking and redoing stories that don't need it. Sure Alice in Wonderland made bank but I want something original. Hell I'd even take another Batman Returns right now. Also Jonah Hex should have been good. What happened with that movie?

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 11:25 p.m. CST

    Love Josh Brolin, but my pick would be...

    by ltgalloway

    Jackie Earle Haley

  • His style has become a cliche unto himself.

  • Feb. 28, 2011, 11:57 p.m. CST

    the huchbacks age

    by spockofthewalk

    The hunchback was 20 not 50 and it is a very important part of the story. I bet Burton has no read the book.

  • March 1, 2011, 12:51 a.m. CST


    by Marat

    Not interested. Waltz would make a good Frollo, I'm sure, but Burton? You know Bonham carter and Depp would end up in this film. Probably Depp as Frollo or at least get him in as Gringoire. In English. Yeah, not for me. I'll just catch Notre Dame de Paris, the musical on Youtube, thanks. Enjoy. Informal and not a 1:1 to the book, but entertaining than whatever shit Burton would shovel out.

  • March 1, 2011, 12:53 a.m. CST

    Johnny Depp as Esmerelda!

    by MrD

  • March 1, 2011, 12:55 a.m. CST

    Or Clopin

    by Marat

    I can see it now

  • March 1, 2011, 1:04 a.m. CST

    Elijah Wood!!!!!

    by Gorgomel

    Frollo after Frodo! makes sense!

  • March 1, 2011, 2:42 a.m. CST

    Can't say that this has got me excited...

    by Ecto-1

    Whilst I'd love to see a new great version of this, after Alice In Wonderland, I've completely given up on Tim Burton. He's become a parody of himself and it's annoying as hell that he's always got to have Depp and Carter in everything.

  • March 1, 2011, 6:26 a.m. CST

    andrew dice clay reference?

    by presidentevil

    gonna see if i still have that cd

  • March 1, 2011, 6:46 a.m. CST

    Jonah Hex

    by elsewhere

    You're better than this, Josh.

  • March 1, 2011, 7:18 a.m. CST

    More curly trees and pasty faces....

    by alienindisguise

    Burton is done. He's beaten his dead horse into oblivion and no one gives a shit which is how it should be when a director refuses to branch out and try something new.

  • March 1, 2011, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Penelope Cruz as Esmerelda...

    by Wazoo

    ...maybe. Depends on how old the character should be. If Megan Fox could get inspired to actually act she has the look for the character. Too bad we can't get the 25-year-old Demi Moore for the role, because that voice really made the character in the excellent Disney version.

  • March 1, 2011, 11:37 a.m. CST


    by Cletus Van Damme

    I'll call you in an HOUR, I'll get BACK to ya. HOUR-BACK, get it?

  • March 1, 2011, 12:02 p.m. CST

    "Next Summer... Backs Will Be Hunched!"

    by WriteForTheEdit

    I guess that meme is sort of played out, isn't it?

  • March 1, 2011, 12:06 p.m. CST

    RE: "LALALALALALALAL Swooping Camera on Skeleton LALALALAL"

    by WriteForTheEdit

    LOL! I do love a lot of Tim Burton, but let's face it: that really hits the nail on the head.

  • March 1, 2011, 12:31 p.m. CST

    I'd love to see a dark, adult Hunchback movie, however...

    by Royston Lodge

    ...not from Tim Burton. It would be way cooler coming from someone like Guillermo Del Toro (or a reasonable facsimile free out of film school).

  • March 1, 2011, 12:45 p.m. CST

    What strange, unexpected material for Burton to want to make his own!

    by Beaverduck

    Actually it's not. I'm sick of Tim Burton.

  • March 1, 2011, 1 p.m. CST


    by JaredP

    what about LON CHANEY? his performance in the film from the silent era was phenominal

  • March 1, 2011, 1:13 p.m. CST

    It's only a matter of time

    by buggerbugger

    before we get a reimagining of - or prequel to - 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari'. Might as well let Burton fuck up that, too, with his myopic vision and his choral la-la-las courtesy of Elfman.

  • March 1, 2011, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Oh fuck off, Burton.

    by Knuckleduster

    Burton is the new Jamie Cullum, and by that I mean he's turned into a shitty cover artist. "Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland" "Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes" "Tim Burton's Hunchback of Notre Dame" "Tim Burton's Wizard of Oz" "Tim Burton's Twilight" Piss off, Tim. Go back to making real movies.

  • March 1, 2011, 1:24 p.m. CST

    What hump?

    by MrDexter

  • March 1, 2011, 1:25 p.m. CST

    Cast suggestions

    by darth rod

    From the limited pool of actors Burton uses, here is my hopeful casting. Frollo: Christopher Lee he is tailor made, only he is semiretired so who knows if not him Alan Rickman would kick ass. Since I can almost see Burton using the Disney version (like Alice) as a base I would put Depp as the obligatory "Wacky" Gypsie leader, movie heavily focus on him and his tragic past.

  • March 1, 2011, 1:34 p.m. CST

    The Bell-ends! The Bell-ends!

    by Jeff Myers

    Burton - maybe. If he could just learn to PACE his f*cking films. At heart he's just a brilliant Cinematographer who got (amazingly) lucky. He's not a director. He has no grasp of character, emotional development, depth, editing - the rooftop fight scenes in Batman Returns are ridiculously put together. He doesn't ever seem to learn from his mistakes either. Brolin - full marks for admiting just how sh*t Hex turned out - but I still can't recall a great character performance - in a long career. My fave shot of the Laughton Hunchback version: the final, unsettling, pull back shot from Notre Dame Cathedral as Quasimodo crouches next to the Gargoyles. Freaky still.

  • Another completely wrong movie for Burton, especially because we know he will seek to "improve" on the story with all manner of nonsense. I've really only loved Ed Wood, which seems more and more like a fluke with each passing year. Brolin? Please, no. As for gwynplaine's idea that this should be a vehicle for Mickey Rourke... now, that is a great idea. Oddly enough, I could also Bruce Willis make this work, I mean if he put his back into it.

  • March 1, 2011, 2:52 p.m. CST

    whatever happened to Tim Burton

    by oisin5199

    the guy that had auteur films like Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, and Big Fish? Heck, even Betelgeuse and Pee Wee's Big Adventure kinda fit in that category. I really thought that Big Fish was a sign of things to come, that he would mature and develop into something great. But not at all. It's been one obvious idea and mediocre remake after another. What the hell happened?

  • March 1, 2011, 8:17 p.m. CST

    What happened to Burton? Well...

    by Orbots Commander

    ...Success and lots of money. Huge success makes many interesting artists get fat, happy and content and they lose what made them interesting. It's happened to many. It's the rare ultra successful filmmaker/writer/performer/whatever stay on one long continuous streak during their whole career. In fact, you can count them all on one hand, probably.

  • March 1, 2011, 10 p.m. CST

    Paul Giammati for the 'back!

    by Dirk_The_Amoeba

    Put a dress on Brolin and call him Esmerelda!

  • March 2, 2011, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Uh Nordling, "Jonah Hex" didnt 'do too well' because it was AWFUL.

    by Elgyn6655321

    Nice to see a Burton project that DOESN'T star Johnny Depp for once. Someone finally told Burton that he doesn't have to cast Depp in every movie he makes. And "Sweeney Todd" was perfect. Depp & Carter both did fine in it.

  • March 2, 2011, 10:05 a.m. CST

    He was made-up for his part in True Grit

    by NotoriousBigLebowski

    ...and my guess the inspiration for him being cast as the Hunchback, yes, yes?