Who better to play the woman loved by every prominent man living in 15th-century Paris than Marion Cotillard? Never mind the obvious (she's French); she is absurdly beautiful and charming, as well as one of the most talented actresses working today, which will make all those scenes in which Esmeralda fears for her life uniquely believable.
Photo by Mikael Jansson, Interview, July 2010
The leader of what is effectively the 15th-century police force, Captain Phoebus is ruthless and, you guessed it, in love with Esmeralda. Not only is he appropriately French, Vincent Cassel is a whiz at playing evil and perverse (Black Swan, Eastern Promises). Come to think of it, when does Cassel not play evil?
Jehan Frollo is Quasimodo's petulant, spoiled little brother who may or may not get murdered (no spoilers here!). We'd like The Place Beyond the Pines' Emory Cohen to play the part of Jehan.
Photo by Sebastian Kim, Interview, May 2013
Quasimodo is a physically frightening yet redeemable character. In order to be played convincingly and without any hint of humor, it will take someone with serious acting chops and an aptitude for the quirky and unexpected. Or just an it-actor laden down with prosthetics, like Tom Hardy.
Yet another Frenchman captivated by Esmeralda's beauty, lowly street poet Pierre Gringoire differs from the others in that Esmeralda seems to return his affection. The two even marry, but only so that he won't be hung for accidental trespassing (15th-century France was pretty rough). This role is an opportunity for some non-evil French man candy. We think Romain Duris, star of the upcoming film Populaire, perfectly fits the bill.
Archdeacon Claude Frollo may have adopted the town's most misunderstood disfigured freak;but don't be fooled, this old man of the church is pure evil. Not only does he use the easily manipulated Quasimodo to do his bidding, he frames an innocent Gypsy and attempts to kill a poor beggar. Malcolm McDowell has been playing sadistic and evil since the '70s (A Clockwork Orange). We can't think of anyone more capable of convincingly portraying all of Frollo's latter day atrocities.