Michael Jackson once offered to be a part of Disney’s 1996 animated hit “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” However, Disney declined the King of Pop’s offer.
On Monday, this revelation was revealed in an oral history of the Disney classic from Slash Film’s Josh Spiegel. The composer who oversaw the score for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” Alan Menken, initially met the icon while searching for someone to sing “A Whole New World” for 1992’s Disney film, “Aladdin.”
Menken says that Jackson’s assistant contacted him “out of nowhere” during one of Jackson’s stays at a New York Four Seasons Hotel. The singer was excited to work on Hunchback once the composer mentioned it to him and was eager to take the spotlight off of his child abuse allegations and separation from Lisa Marie Presley. He made plans with Menken to visit his studio to go more in-depth about the project.
He says that at the time, the songs that Jackson was interested in producing and recording were “Out There,” “God Help the Outcasts,” and “Someday.” Menken got in touch with Disney about Jackson’s interest and was told by the company that they would get back to him. Ultimately, Disney turned down Jackson’s offer.
“In retrospect, it was the right decision,” Menken stated but did acknowledge that Jackon’s relationship with his family, particularly his father, made him similar to Quasimodo’s character.
Jackson’s appreciation for Victor Hugo’s original 1939 adaptation of Hunchback has always been widely known. In a 2012 biography, author Randall Sullivan revealed that Jackson would often watch Hugo’s version with a screenwriter in hopes of portraying the role of Quasimodo one day.