Screenwriters Kieran and Michele Mulroney Talk THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and MATCHED

     December 5, 2011


At the press junket for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Collider got the opportunity to chat with husband and wife writing team, Kieran and Michele Mulroney, who are the screenwriters of the film. While we will run that portion of the interview, closer to the film’s December 16th release, we did want to share what they had to say about the two projects they’re currently developing, simultaneously.

Much like the daunting task of adapting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for the big screen, Kieran and Michele Mulroney are currently working on adapting the Victor Hugo classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with Josh Brolin attached to star and produce. Wanting to remain faithful to the story while doing some new things with the character of Quasimodo, the two are having fun with the process. At the same time, they are adapting the young adult novel Matched, which is set in the future. Check out what they had to say after the jump.

kieran-michele-mulroney-01How did you come to be developing The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and what sort of challenges come with adapting that classic story?

MICHELE: Warner Bros. wanted to do The Hunchback, and Josh Brolin is involved, as playing the role of the Hunchback and as a producer. They just came to us and said, “Do you want to try to tackle The Hunchback?” It was a little scary. At first, we weren’t quite sure because you’re dealing with a very iconic character, and truly one of my most respected and favorite books every written by Victor Hugo. So, you’re starting with this 700-page novel that you think is a work of art, and then you’re thinking, “How the hell are we going to turn this into a movie, and how are we going to do something new?” There’s been, as we all know, lots of various stories about The Hunchback. So, a bit like Sherlock, the only reason we eventually decided to do it was because we felt we had some ideas about where to take this story and be faithful to Hugo, but also blow the dust off it a little bit and do some new things with the character of Quasimodo, particularly. So, we’re excited. It’s been really fun, so far.

KIERAN: We did a Justice League script for Warner Bros., some years ago, and we wrote for Superman and Batman. For some reason, all we’re doing is icons. There’s a real thrill with that. As you get into the script, on the first day, when you get to sit down and type “Quasimodo” for the first time, or you write dialogue for Holmes and Watson, these are characters that everybody knows, and you’re getting to tell your version of them, in adapting these books. That was really appealing to us. The Hunchback has got great music in it, and it’s a great period. It seemed like a good idea, at the time. We’ll see. It’s fun. It’s in process.

sherlock-holmes-2-movie-poster-finalIs it strange to also work on adapting a modern novel, with Matched?

MICHELE: Yeah. Every week, we’ve been going crazy. We’re doing it at the same time. We’ve been going back and forth between 1400 and, for the Disney project, 2200. It’s set in the future. So, it’s been hilarious. But, that being said, every story is still about how people connect and love and have ambition.

KIERAN: They’re all love stories.

MICHELE: They all come down to the same fundamentals. It’s just that some have flying cars and some have medieval huts.

KIERAN: We worked with a director on a project for Universal that told us something once, that I think is very smart. He said that every movie and every story is a mystery. They’re all mysteries, which I agree with, but I also think that they’re all love stories. One of the reasons why Sherlock is fun is that it’s literally both. It’s this friendship, which is a version of a love story, with a great mystery. Quasimodo is a great love story, with monster movie stuff thrown in it. Even Matched is like that. You don’t want the audience to know where they’re going to go, but you want them to be happy when they get there and, along the way, you want them to fall in love with your characters.

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