The late pop star Michael Jackson wanted to be a part of Hunchback of Notre Dame, but Disney wasn't having it after his string of allegations.
Composer Alan Menken, who worked on the 1996 animated film, has recently revealed that Michael wanted to record songs on the film but Disney said no.
In an interview with SlashFilm, the directors, animators, actors, and other filmmakers discussed the making of the move in great detail.
Menken told SlashFilm: "I get a call out of nowhere from Michael's assistant when Michael was at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York.
"He had to [deal with] allegations about inappropriate behaviour with underage kids and the breakup with Lisa Marie Presley.
"He's looking to change the subject. And he obviously loves Disney so much. So I mentioned Hunchback.
"He said he'd love to come to my studio, watch the movie, and talk about it.
"So we got in touch with Disney Animation. They said, 'Meet with him! If he likes it… well, see what he says.'"
Menken showed Jackson three songs Out There, God Help the Outcasts, and Someday.
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He added: "Michael said, 'I would like to produce the songs and record some of them.' Wow. Okay. What do we do now?"
Prior to this, other Disney films like Aladdin had been successful at hitting the charts with other pop stars covering its songs.
Although the company took some notable risks with the film, being a far cry from its typical Disney princess archetype, they were stern that Michael wasn't going to be one of those risks.
Menken added: "Michael left. We got in touch with Disney. It was like somebody dropped a hot poker into a fragile bowl with explosives. 'Uh, we'll get back to you about that.'
"Finally, predictably, the word came back, 'Disney doesn't want to do this with Michael Jackson.' I go, 'OK, could someone tell him this?'
"You can hear a pin drop, no response, and nobody did [tell him]. It fell to my late manager, Scott Shukat, to tell Michael or Michael's attorney.
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Looking back at the decision the composer agrees that the company made the right decision.
"In retrospect, it was the right decision. [But] Quasimodo is a character… If you look at his relationships with his family and his father, I would think there's a lot of identification there," he added.
Screenwriter Tom Hedley also stated that Jackson was a huge fan of the 1939 film adaptation of Hunchback of Notre Dame, in the book Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson.
He explained that Michael displayed a keen interest in possibly playing Quasimodo in a remake years before the Disney animated version ever come to play.
- Michael Jackson
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