Disney rejected Michael Jackson for ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ soundtrack
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of Disney’s most popular movies from the 90s. And its music has also stood the test of time, as its soundtrack is one of the most notables Disney has produced. However, new information has surfaced that reveals Disney actually rejected an offer from Michael Jackson to contribute to the movie’s soundtrack.
Why Disney turned their back on Michael Jackson
In a recent interview with SlashFilm, composer Alan Menken revealed that Jackson’s assistant called him in 1995, saying that the singer wants to “change the subject” after accusations of sexually abusing children and his divorce. And so, Jackson wanted to save his image by contributing to the Disney movie. Menken said:
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 later got in touch with Disney on behalf of Jackson, but the response was not as they had hoped.
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].
Later, Menken’s manager had to reveal the news to Michael Jackson. And although his attempt was not successful, in retrospect, it still felt like the right decision for Jackson. And another reason for that was how relatable the lead character of The Hunchback of Notre Dame was to Jackson, as the composer revealed:
It fell to my late manager, Scott Shukat, to tell Michael or Michael’s attorney. 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.