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Tim Burton, Josh Brolin hot for 'Hunchback'

Updated: 2011-03-01 16:53

LOS ANGELES – Tim Burton and Josh Brolin are teaming up to bring "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" to the big screen.

Warner Bros. is developing the project with the duo, and is bringing on board scribes Kieran and Michele Mulroney, who wrote the upcoming "Sherlock Holmes" sequel for the studio.

"Hunchback," an 1831 novel by Victor Hugo, tells the story of Quasimodo, a deformed and hunchbacked bell-ringer of the Norte Dame cathedral who tragically falls in love with beautiful gypsy named Esmerelda.

The book has long intrigued the film and TV worlds -- it was first adapted in 1905 into a film titled "Esmerelda" -- although the last major adaptations were in 1997, the year that saw a high-profile Disney animated movie and an action-heavy picture starring Mandy Patinkin and Salma Hayek.

The book features Quasimodo fighting off troops, love and betrayal, a hanging, a swing off a belltower and bodies and graves galore; in short, stuff that seems tailor-made for Burton.

But the project, being spearheaded by Brolin, who would also produce as well as star, is in the nascent stages. Burton, who is in preproduction on "Dark Shadows" for Warners, is interested, but his commitment is dependent on the outcome of the script.

If Hunchback does come to pass, it would be Brolin's second crack at a deformed personage after starring as the title character in "Jonah Hex," Warners' Western featuring the facially scarred DC Comics anti-hero.