A lot has happened to Quasimodo since novelist Victor Hugo first imagined him in 1831’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Most obviously, he’s gotten better and better looking, especially since the advent of movie houses. In 1923, Lon Chaney portrayed the grotesque yet sympathetic outcast who rings the bell atop Paris’ most famous cathedral. Charles Laughton (left) was a little more dignified in the 1939 version. In 1956, Anthony Quinn was less monstrous, and in 1997, the otherwise dashing Mandy Patinkin labored under the hump. The trend from gargoyle to GQ continues with today’s news, first reported by Variety, that handsome Josh Brolin is eying the not-so-handsome role in an adaptation to be directed by Tim Burton. My, that’s a hunky hunchback! Brolin, of course, has demonstrated a recent fondness for gritty ugliness — True Grit, Jonah Hex — and Burton, who’s not yet officially attached, has a long track record for burying his handsome leading men behind a mask of makeup. Good, because I’m not ready for the story where gorgeous gypsy Esmeralda and wealthy Fleurs de Lys toss noble Phoebus to the curb and throw themselves at a winking Q-Mode.
Can you envision Brolin looking like Laughton, or are you expecting a more attractive hunchback? After seeing that jarring photo from the 1939 film, I’m not so sure this just isn’t a roundabout way for Brolin to make a Goonies sequel — it’s Sloth, right?