Disney: 10 Live-Action Actors Who Look Just Like Their Animated Character – Screen Rant

Whether achieved through makeup or special effects, some actors in Disney’s live-action remakes have fully resembled their animated counterparts.
Love them, hate them, or simply put up with their existence, if there’s one thing the Disney live-action remakes try to do every single time, it’s make their animated characters a reality. Although some artistic interpretations differ from the source material greatly, one of the places the studio can’t afford to go wrong is in the casting department.
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While some casting choices were a surprise success, there are those that were simply made to play these famous characters. Whether that was achieved through makeup, special effects, or simply just looking like the characters, there are several performances that were spot-on adaptations.
Although there was a lot of controversy regarding Josh Gad’s portrayal of Gaston’s comical sidekick, Lefou. There’s no denying that both the filmmakers and the actor did a magnificent job bringing him to life, especially in the performance department. Gad’s Lefou brought a splash of color to his character and made the guy fiercely loyal even to a fault.
While he might lack the character’s bulbous nose and gapped teeth, Gad’s short and somewhat portly figure paired with Luke Evans’s Gaston helps sell the illusion. Gad’s stage training probably helped perfect the performance as well.
She might not sing like Paige O’Hara, but there’s no denying that Emma Watson was a solid choice for a live-action version as Belle. Yet another fan-splitting choice, Watson definitely brings something different to the table as the bookish heroine, but there’s no denying that she fits into Belle’s blue peasant garb a bit too well.
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It should probably be noted that her history playing Hermione Granger from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter may have played a part in the casting decision, as the characters are both remarkably similar. Still, her wide-eyed expressions and sense of adventure in the great-wide-somewhere also benefit.
To be perfectly fair, no amount of Disney magic can ever recreate the genius that was Robin Williams. That being said, Will Smith as the Genie from Aladdin was undoubtedly the best part of the movie. Even with the notorious blue CGI, his physical and vocal performance brought the cartoonish element the character is known for to life without a hitch.
Nothing can top the original, but Smith’s performance and portrayal we’re absolutely spot-on. Just look at his Bollywood-inspired take on “Friend Like Me” to solidify the evidence. The Fresh Prince was definitely cut out for the role.
Although Jim Cummings does not appear on screen in Christopher Robin, he’s practically the only person around Disney would trust to play Winnie the Pooh the right way. Since the man has practically been voicing the character for decades, anyone else would be a cheap imitation.
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The reason Cummings is included is because it’s his performance that keeps the CGI/puppet-like version of the silly old bear from getting into some seriously creepy territory. This version of Pooh works because the actor is giving the voice performance of his life. It’s an honorable mention, but one that deserves every ounce of praise.
They might not be human, but the canine performers in Disney’s remake of Lady and the Tramp were practically perfect for the titular roles. From their breeds to their coloration, the team in charge of the animal cast members on the project truly nailed their casting to almost a painfully accurate detail.
Not only that but the animals’ performances are also worth noting, as the CGI seen in most talking dog movies is surprisingly lacking, and that’s a big step for Disney. While they might not sing and swing like the ones in the cartoon, they do help both Lady and Tramp seem more grounded in reality.
Disney’s live-action adaptation of Mulan is arguably the most original remake on the list, but it would be nothing without its leading lady. Enter Liu Yifei as the title role with all the grace and elegance of an acrobat and the strength and skill of a seasoned warrior. She might seem a tad more reserved than the animated version, but once she steps into her armor, Mulan’s true character shines through.
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Yifei truly unleashes the warrior within once she gets into Mulan’s action scenes. What she lacks in dragon sidekicks, she more than makes up in courage and skill as she gets down to business and picks up the sword to take on an army of barbarian invaders. Definitely the kind of fighting one could expect from Mulan herself.
There are some Disney actors that simply look like the character was ripped right from the celluloid of the animation stills, and Neel Sethi’s Mowgli is one such example. Sethi is practically a carbon copy of the original character from the 1967 animated movie, and it works tremendously in his favor.
It also helps that the actor performed absolutely brilliantly against the green-screen backdrops and CGI animals to help drive the film. Being one of the few human performers actually seen, his conditions were certainly unorthodox for most actors, but he definitely made the role his own.
Maleficent has been a fan favorite villain for years, and Disney definitely knew what they were doing when they cast Angelina Jolie in the title role for her solo film. Even without the aid of her horned costume, black cape, and glowing stuff, the prolific actress was a ringer for the role before filming began.
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Jolie is certainly a versatile actress, having portrayed a variety of characters throughout her exceptional career, but her take on Maleficent is one that puts a radically new twist on the Mistress of All Evil, making for one of her most unforgettable roles.
Emma Stone might currently wear the crown as Cruella, but the definitive live-action adaptation of a Disney villain will always be Glenn Close in the ’90s version of 101 DalmatiansAfter all, it was Close’s version that brought the character into the modern era and turned her into the fiendish fashionista fans know today.
Close’s performance captures every ounce of eccentric evil that made the character famous. Every twisted smile and arranged cackle is recreated perfectly through Close’s acting prowess. The amount of joyful malice that just drips off her is absolutely palpable.
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Zach Gass is a writer from East Tennessee with a love for all things Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel. When not writing for Screen Rant, Zach is an active member of his community theatre, enjoys a variety of authors including Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkein, and is a proud and active retro-gamer.


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