Disney movies have been bringing joy to kids worldwide for years. They've become a part of our culture, and we all know and love their iconic characters and stories. The princesses, in particular, have captured our hearts and made Disney the powerhouse it is today. From Snow White to the latest additions, these princesses have become timeless icons.
While it's tough to reimagine these beloved characters, Disney's live-action remakes have been impressively successful. One of the main reasons is their excellent casting choices. They've picked well-known actors who bring a fresh perspective to these iconic roles, making them relevant for a new generation. These actors have breathed new life into the princesses we adore, and we can't help but fall in love with them all over again. Disney's live-action princesses are a magical experience you won't want to miss! Here is the top 10 live-action Disney characters that were perfectly cast.
1. Naomi Scott As Jasmine - Aladdin
Jasmine is a key character in the Aladdin movie, and in the live-action adaptation, she finally shines brightly. Naomi Scott portrays Jasmine with incredible skill, embodying her courage and adventurous spirit while adding depth to the character. Not only does she resemble the princess physically, but she also delivers a powerful performance. In addition, Naomi's portrayal earned her a well-deserved nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the Saturn Awards. Jasmine's presence in the live-action film is a true delight, and Naomi Scott brings her to life in a remarkable way.
2. Will Smith As Genie - Aladdin
Will Smith, known for his comedic talent and iconic roles, faced a challenge in taking on the role of the Genie in Aladdin. Audiences held Robin Williams' portrayal in high regard, considering it untouchable. While Smith didn't quite meet those expectations, he still delivered a commendable performance. In the 2019 adaptation, Smith embraced the role of the Genie as the comedic relief, showcasing his ability to be silly and entertain viewers. Though some found the film to be slow-paced, Smith's portrayal stood out, adding his own touch to the character and bringing moments of levity to the movie.
3. Lily James As Cinderella - Cinderella
Lily James, known for her standout performance in Downton Abbey, took on the role of Cinderella in Disney's live-action adaptation in 2015. While the original animated film may have some outdated elements, James' portrayal of the beloved princess remains memorable. Despite the absence of vibrant songs and the signature Disney enchantment, James shines throughout the movie. Since then, she has continued to impress audiences with her roles in films like Baby Driver, Darkest Hour, and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. James' captivating presence on screen continues to captivate viewers wherever she appears.
4. Cate Blanchett As Lady Tremaine - Cinderella
Throughout Disney's history, numerous villains have captured the hearts of audiences with their captivating personalities, often leading to a surprising level of sympathy for their wicked ways. However, Lady Tremaine, the main antagonist in Cinderella, has remained a despised character among viewers. As Cinderella's stepmother, Lady Tremaine harbors a deep hatred for her, subjecting her to mistreatment and forcing her into servitude after her father's passing.
In the 2015 live-action adaptation, director Kenneth Branagh made a brilliant choice by casting the talented Cate Blanchett to portray this iconic character. Blanchett's portrayal goes beyond surface-level villainy, delving into Lady Tremaine's complex personality and offering insights into the origins of her cruelty and disdain for Cinderella. With impeccable costumes and a deep understanding of the character, Blanchett brings Lady Tremaine to life, leaving a lasting impact on the audience.
5. Helena Bonham Carter Fairy Godmother - Cinderella
In the 2015 film Cinderella, the filmmakers made another excellent casting decision by choosing Helena Bonham Carter to portray the Fairy Godmother. While some may not have initially pictured Bonham Carter as the ideal fit for the kind and gentle character from the original 1950 film, she proved to be the perfect choice. The filmmakers themselves had Bonham Carter in mind right from the start, recognizing her unique ability to add her own twist to the character. As a result, Bonham Carter portrayed a slightly quirky and highly entertaining sorceress who ultimately shares the same goal as the original character—to assist and support the princess.
6. Emma Watson As Belle - Beauty and the Beast
Emma Watson was the ideal choice to play Belle in the 2017 film Beauty and the Beast, as her own personality resonates strongly with the intelligent and compassionate nature of the character. Fans were ecstatic upon hearing the news of her casting, and Watson's portrayal of Belle was truly magnificent. It wasn't the first time she played such a character, having previously portrayed Hermione Granger with a similar smart and dedicated attitude. Watson expressed her joy at the opportunity to play one of her childhood heroines, and both the filmmakers and Paige O'Hara, the original voice of Belle, agreed that she was perfect for the role. However, some critics felt that Watson's singing voice wasn't as suited for the beloved songs of this classic tale.
7. Josh Gad As LeFou - Beauty and the Beast
Josh Gad's portrayal of LeFou in the 2017 live-action Beauty and the Beast was well-received by the audience. As Gaston's loyal sidekick, LeFou endures mistreatment but remains by his side, ensuring Gaston always feels like the hero. Gad's performance as LeFou was loved by viewers, but there was disappointment surrounding the portrayal of the character's trademark as the first openly gay character in a Disney film. Gad himself expressed that the character's depiction fell short of what it should have been, as reported by Variety.
8. Luke Evans As Gaston - Beauty and the Beast
Luke Evans's portrayal of Gaston in the live-action Beauty and the Beast was exceptional. He captured the essence of the arrogant and persistent character, constantly vying for Belle's affection. Evans's charm and performance as the self-centered villain endeared him to the audience, leading him to win the Teen Choice Award for Best Villain. The film also delved deeper into Gaston's relationship with his sidekick Lefou, which was well-received by viewers. Although a Disney+ series featuring these characters was initially announced, the project did not come to fruition.
9. Bill Murray As Baloo - The Jungle Book
Bill Murray's incredible range shines through in his portrayal of Baloo in The Jungle Book (2016). With his deadpan delivery and impeccable comedic timing, Murray captures the lazy and self-centered nature of the lovable bear. He infuses the character with human-like antics, such as making Mowgli climb a tree for honey. Baloo becomes a believable and endearing presence, different from the original character voiced by Phil Harris. Alongside the film's fantastic cast, Murray's performance contributes to making The Jungle Book one of the most acclaimed Disney live-action remakes.
10. Oakes Fegley As Pete - Pete's Dragon
In the live-action remake of Pete's Dragon (2016), young actor Oakes Fegley took on the challenging role of Pete, originally played by Sean Marshall. Despite being relatively unknown, Fegley delivered a compelling performance that brought the character to life. He skillfully interacted with the immersive CGI, portraying the orphaned boy who forms a friendship with a dragon in the forest.
While Bryce Dallas Howard also appears in the film as a park ranger, it is Fegley who shines and carries the story. His portrayal captures Pete's sense of curiosity and wonder, adding depth to the character. Although Pete's Dragon may not be the most iconic film in the Disney collection, the remake was widely regarded as an improvement over the original, thanks in large part to Fegley's talent and portrayal of Pete.
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