Meet the Stars Bringing Your Childhood Dreams to Life as Live-Action Disney Characters

We've been getting more and more live-action adaptations of classic Disney cartoons, we can hardly keep them straight! Here is your guide to the actors breathing new life (literally!) to the iconic roles

01 of 29

Yara Shahidi, Peter Pan and Wendy

alexia fernandez
Aaron J. Thornton/FilmMagic

On Sept. 25, 2020, the black-ish star announced that she's set to play the role of Tinker Bell in Disney's upcoming live-action Peter Pan and Wendy.

Shahidi revealed the news on Instagram, sharing a photo of herself dressed in a green and purple bejeweled costume.

"lettssssgooooo 🧚🏽‍♂️🧚🏽‍♂️🧚🏽‍♂️ #Tinkerbell," she captioned the shot.

Other familiar faces in the cast include Alexander Molony as Peter Pan, Ever Anderson as Wendy and Jude Law as Captain Hook.

02 of 29

Halle Bailey, The Little Mermaid

Halle Bailey, Ariel
Leon Bennett/Getty; Walt Disney/Everett

Half of the R&B sister duo, Chloe x Halle, Bailey will voice Ariel, a mermaid who longs to "spend a day warm on the sand," it was announced on July 3.

After news broke, Chloe x Halle's Twitter account posted a rendering of a mermaid of color, captioned, "dream come true."

03 of 29

Melissa McCarthy or Lizzo, The Little Mermaid

Disney live action casting
Frazer Harrison/Getty; Walt Disney/Everett; Charley Gallay/Getty

While Melissa McCarthy is reportedly negotiating with Disney to play the queen of undersea villainy, Ursula, Lizzo is still vying for the role.

The singer retweeted a video of herself from last Halloween dressed as Ariel's archnemesis and singing "Pour Unfortunate Souls" with a sad eyes emoji after hearing news of McCarthy's potential deal.

04 of 29

Awkwafina, The Little Mermaid

Disney live action casting
Walt Disney Pictures/Everett; Rich Polk/Getty

The actress is in talks to play Scuttle, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Crazy Rich Asians star has also been cast in another classic reboot, Jumanji: The Next Level, coming out in December, Variety reported.

05 of 29

Jacob Tremblay, The Little Mermaid

Disney live action casting
Mary Evans/WALT DISNEY PICTURES / Ronald Grant/Everett; Emma McIntyre/Getty

Like Awkwafina, the Room actor is also in talks to join the film, as Flounder, Ariel's best friend and fishy confidant.

06 of 29

Beyoncé, The Lion King

beyonce
Kevin Mazur/Getty; Disney

Queen Bey voices Nala, Simba's childhood-friend-turned-love-interest, in the upcoming movie.

Bey was director Jon Favreau's top choice, with the director even willing to work the production schedule around the birth of her twins, according to Variety.

The Lion King opens in theatres July 19 - and we already know a new song is coming with it.

07 of 29

John Oliver, The Lion King

zazu
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty; Walt Disney Co./Everett

The British Last Week Tonight host is tackling the part of Zazu, the uptight hornbill who serves as King Mufasa's majordomo. Rowan Atkinson originated the voice role in the beloved 1994 original.

08 of 29

Seth Rogen, The Lion King

disney-voices-seth-rogan-pumbaa
Ben Gabbe/Getty; Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Rogen plays stinky, lovable warthog Pumbaa in the live-action Lion King. The comedian is sure to bring his own humourous flare to a new version of "Hakuna Matata."

09 of 29

Billy Eichner, The Lion King

disney-voices-Billy-Eicher-Timon
Theo Wargo/Getty; Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Joining Rogen as the other half of the duo? Billy on the Street's hilarious Eichner.

10 of 29

Donald Glover, The Lion King

simba
D Dipasupil/FilmMagic; Buena Vista Pictures/Everett Collection

He's going to be a mighty king! Glover will star in the upcoming Jon Favreau-directed film, which uses performance-capture technology and computer-generated imagery - and also includes many of the hit songs from the beloved 1994 animated film.

11 of 29

James Earl Jones, The Lion King

musafa
Walter McBride/WireImage; Walt Disney Co./Everett Collection

This one doesn't require much imagination: Jones will again lend his voice to the original king of the jungle, a role he defined in the 1994 animated classic.

12 of 29

Keegan-Michael Key, Florence Kasumba and Eric André, The Lion King

Keegan Michael, Florence Kasumba, and Eric André
Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images; Mike Marsland/WireImage; Vivien Killilea/Getty Images; Disney

The Lion King's ragtag group of hyenas will be played by a talented trio.

From left to right, Key (who also cameos in Disney's Toy Story 4) will play Kamari, Marvel's Kasumba voices Shenzi and André will take on Aziz.

13 of 29

Will Smith, Aladdin

Disney live action casting
Walt Disney/Everett; Disney Studios/Kobal/Shutterstock

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star nailed his performance of the Genie in Guy Richie's reboot of the 1992 cartoon classic. Smith tried to make the role his own, rapping in new versions of the movie's most famous songs.

Smith recently thanked fans on Instagram for making Aladdin the highest-grossing film of his career.

14 of 29

Marwan Kenzari, Aladdin

Disney live action casting
Walt Disney/Everett; Daniel Smith/Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock

Fans were excited to see Kenzari put a new (and attractive) twist on everyone's favorite villain, Jafar.

While many on social media were loving the actor for his looks, he still played a convincingly evil sorcerer in the new live-action remake.

15 of 29

Mena Massoud, Aladdin

Disney live action casting
Buena Vista Pictures/Everett; Daniel Smith/Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock

Make way for this relative newcomer. Born in Egypt but raised in Canada, Massoud told PEOPLE in May that "people who look like me struggle to get roles."

With a cast lauded for its talent and diversity, Massoud hopes the movie will inspire others.

"I want to look back 20 years from now and be like, 'This movie affected people,' " he said.

16 of 29

Naomi Scott, Aladdin

Disney live action casting
Walt Disney Pictures/Everett; Daniel Smith/Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock

In this 21st-century remake, Scott played a strongly independent, feminist Princess Jasmine. Already a Disney Channel alumna, the actress landed her roles on Life Bites in 2008 and Lemonade Mouth in 2011.

Scott will follow the role by starring in a new reboot of Charlie's Angels coming out in November.

17 of 29

Danny DeVito, Dumbo

Disney live action casting
Disney; Jay Maidment/Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock

DeVito played circus owner Max Medici in the new live-action remake of the 1941 hit.

"I was so excited when I found out that Tim [Burton] was gonna do it," DeVito told PEOPLE. "He captured the charm of the original that we loved and he kept all the values of the story, and what happens when you're born different."

18 of 29

Emma Watson, Beauty and the Beast

belle
Walt Disney Co.; Neal Peters/Disney

With beauty and brains, it didn't take a bookworm to know to cast Watson in the lead role of the smash hit Disney blockbuster.

19 of 29

Dan Stevens, Beauty and the Beast

beast
Disney; Buena Vista Pictures/Everett Collection

The Downton Abbey actor went back to familiar territory - a big, European-set, castle-like house - in Beauty and the Beast.

20 of 29

Josh Gad, Beauty and the Beast

lefou
Disney; Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

"[Director] Bill Condon did an amazing job of giving us an opportunity to create a version of LeFou that isn't like the original, that expands on what the original did, but that makes him more human and makes him a wonderfully complex character to some extent," Gad told the Associated Press of his on-screen alter ego, who had Disney's first "gay moment" in film.

21 of 29

Luke Evans, Beauty and the Beast

gaston
Disney; Disney/Everett

My what a guy, that Evans! He's an intimidating figure off-screen, and on-screen, gave Gaston his muscles and determination. "[He] uses his charm offensive to whip other people into a frenzy to go and attack somebody they've never met. Somebody that's different. Somebody that only represents a danger because [Gaston] says that he represents a danger," Gad shared of his counterpart.

22 of 29

Lily James, Cinderella

LILY JAMES, CINDERELLA
Moviestore/REX/Shutterstoc; Walt Disney Pictures/Everett

James didn't need a fairy godmother to perfect the Cinderella look for the 2015 adaptation.

23 of 29

Richard Madden, Cinderella

RICHARD MADDEN, CINDERELLA
Jonathan Olley/Walt Disney Studios/Everett; Alamy

He may have lost the Game of Thrones, but Madden certainly made the perfect Prince Charming in Cinderella.

24 of 29

Cate Blanchett, Cinderella

CATE BLANCHETT, CINDERELLA
Jonathan Olley/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Everett; Walt Disney/Everett

The animated version of Cinderella's evil stepmother was intimidating, but Blanchett's portrayal of her in Cinderella took the fear factor to a new level.

25 of 29

Bill Murray, The Jungle Book

BILL MURRAY, THE JUNGLE BOOK
Guillaume Collett/Sipa/Rex/Shutterstock; Everett

Murray took on the role of the big friendly bear, Baloo, in 2016's adaptation of The Jungle Book.

26 of 29

Alexander Skarsgard, Tarzan

ALEXANDER SKARSGARD, TARZAN
Jonathan Olley; Walt Disney Co./Everett

The live-action adaptation, The Legend of Tarzan, wasn't produced by Disney, but there's no denying that the character is a Disney classic. To prepare for the role, Skarsgard got even more chiseled than animators could have imagined.

27 of 29

Margot Robbie, Tarzan

MARGOT ROBBIE, TARZAN
Warner Bros.; Buena Vista Pictures/Everett

Robbie joined the cast as Tarzan's love interest, jungle visitor Jane Porter.

28 of 29

Angelina Jolie, Maleficent

ANGELINA JOLIE, SLEEPING BEAUTY
Frank Connor/Walt Disney Studios/Everett; Walt Disney Co./Everett

Jolie, on the other hand, showed a different side to the famous dragon lady in Maleficent.

29 of 29

Elle Fanning, Maleficent

ELLE FANNING, SLEEPING BEAUTY
Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock; Everett

When Disney animators drew up Sleeping Beauty back in 1959, we imagine they had someone like Fanning in Maleficent in mind.

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