Idris Elba is going all in on The Hunchback of Notre Dame. THR reports that the tremendously talented actor has signed on to star in, direct, and produce music for a modern retelling of the Victor Hugo classic for Netflix. The film is described as a “sonic and musical experience,” with Elba finally melding his passion for music with his passion for filmmaking. Indeed, Elba is an accomplished musician and DJ in his own right, with a producing credit on Jay-Z’s American Gangster soundtrack album back in 2007, along with a number of other credits.
The Giver and The Current War screenwriter Michael Mitnick will pen the script for this new Hunchback of Notre Dame tale, which tells the story of a hunchback named Quasimodo who falls in love with a gypsy named Esmeralda. Elba is producing the film alongside his producing partner Ana Garanito, Fred Berger (La La Land), and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (Midnight Special).
Elba made his directorial debut with the drama Yardie, which hits theaters this year, and also created and stars in the upcoming Netflix comedy series Turn Up Charlie, which will revolve around a struggling DJ played by Elba. It’s unclear which project will come first, but one imagines it’s possible script work on Hunchback could continue while Elba shoots Charlie, after which he could move into shooting Hunchback.
Regardless, this is a very big signal from Netflix that they’re in the Idris Elba business. The actor starred in their first original movie, Beasts of No Nation, back in 2015, so their relationship has significant roots.
Elba most recently had a swell supporting role in Molly’s Game and lead The Dark Tower, which was supposed to jump-start a franchise but, uh, didn’t. So now it seems like he’s keen on creating his own content as opposed to simply being a hired gun, and it’s hard to blame him. Very curious to see how this one turns out.