The iconic Victor Hugo novel, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is becoming a television series thanks to FremantleMedia and the Oscar-nominated film director and writer, Roland Joffé. The series will be called “Ugly” and will be played out against the political economic and social explosion of early 17th Century France, the series follows the life of Ugly, the physically impaired hero of the piece and features a cast of extraordinary characters.
In 1695 in the chateau of the Comte de Chateaupers a baby is born. Joy at the baby’s birth is quickly extinguished as it is discovered that the baby boy is deformed. At first sight, his grandmother hurriedly brings a pillow to spare the child from a life of pain and despair, but something in the child’s eyes stops her. Hours later a troupe of travelling actors discover a basket and within lies the newborn baby of surpassing ugliness. Meanwhile, the intemperate Comte de Chateaupers is presented with an heir, never knowing that the child has been hastily bought from a poor woman of the village. The series embarks on a heart-felt journey and shows what it means to be human regardless of your outward appearance. To wrestle with greed, insecurity and fear, to discover the force of compassion, the pain and power of love and the finding of beauty where it is least expected.
“It’s a cruel conundrum that beauty – much as it is desirable and desired – may be a prison both for those who have it and those who want it. At one level we all think we know what beauty is, but there are as many different kinds of beauty as there are varieties of love. Though physical beauty may encourage the continued expansion of the population at large, it may only be inner beauty that guarantees it’s continued and continuing existence. In our story, Ugly is beautiful and much of what passes for beauty is ugly. Such is life, and life and love, cruelty and compassion, morals and money, are the subjects of our story.”
Sarah Doole, Director of Global drama, FremantleMedia added,
“FremantleMedia International are beyond excited about the opportunity to work with the extraordinarily talented Roland Joffé. ‘Ugly’ is truly captivating and exactly the type of project that we have been seeking in our efforts to grow our creation of high end scripted dramas. We are looking forward to discussing the project with the broadcasters at MIPTV.”
There is currently no word on when the series will premiere or who will be cast in the lead roles.