We grew up watching Disney’s animated films: tales full of wizards, princesses and princes, and enchanted creatures were a common thing in our childhood. Of course, that means that when a new version of these stories is released on the big screen, we’re all dying to go to the movies and watch. Let alone if the new movie features some world-renowned stars! Over the years, we have been able to enjoy different live-action adaptations featuring some of our favorite actors.
And at Bright Side, we thought it’d be a great idea to make a small compilation with some of the best performances in Disney’s new live-action movies. Hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it!
1. Emma Watson
Emma Watson appears in the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, which premiered in 2017. Watson delivered an amazing performance. She plays the girl who is different from the rest of the people in town, and who falls in love with a beast because of its inner beauty, not its physical appearance.
- Fun fact: Emma Watson rejected the role of Cinderella shortly before she was cast to play in Beauty and the Beast, because she didn’t want to play a helpless princess. On the contrary, she accepted the role of Belle because she is an independent woman, with a very open mind, and because she thinks that she is a good role model.
2. Lily James
The English actress who appeared in the acclaimed series Downton Abby was chosen by Disney in 2015 to play the role of Cinderella. James was perfect for the part because of the great sweetness and elegance that she conveys. She also brings a certain character and temperament to a princess who is often portrayed as fragile.
- Fun fact: As we mentioned before, this role was initially offered to Emma Watson, who turned it down to play Belle. Eventually, Lily James would get the leading role by chance: she had auditioned to play one of the evil stepsisters, and producers thought she would make a great Cinderella.
3. Lily Collins
Another classic tale by the Brothers Grimm, Snow White, returned to the big screen with a totally revamped style and several plot twists. Collins plays a princess who is forced into exile. She has been sent to the forest by her evil stepmother Julia Roberts, whose secret plan is to take over the kingdom, which surely comes along with all of the young girl’s wealth. In the forest, Snow White meets 7 dwarf warriors who will help her claim what is hers.
- Fun fact: During a fight scene between the evil queen, stepmother, and Snow White, Julia Roberts accidentally pulled a chunk of Collin’s hair. That’s the actual take that the director kept…
4. Liu Yifei
The 33-year-old singer and actress was chosen by Disney producers to play the warrior Mulan, from among thousands of applicants. Not only that, but forget about hiring stuntmen: Liu Yifei actually performed 90% of the action scenes in the movie. From horseback riding, to sword fighting, to martial arts combat, this young woman can do it all!
- Fun fact: Some of the character names had to be changed to make them more realistic. For instance, Fa Mulan became Hua Mulan, Shan Yu became Böri Khan, Li Shang became Chen Honghui, Chien Po became simply Po, and Fa Zhou (Mulan’s father) became Hua Zhou.
5. Elle Fanning
Maleficent was a box office hit all around the world, both for its unique story and for having such a great cast. In this case, the actress in charge of bringing Princess Aurora to life in both the first film and its sequel was child-prodigy Elle Fanning. She proved her talent by delivering a very carefully polished performance of the princess who was pricked by a spinning wheel and still managed to live up to everyone’s expectations, despite sharing the stage with a great actress like Angelina Jolie.
- Fun fact: The actress that played Princess Aurora as a child was 5-year-old Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, which, you guessed it, is Angelina Jolie’s and Brad Pitt’s daughter.
6. Naomi Scott
The 2019 live-action adaption of Aladdin was one of Disney’s most anticipated remakes. In this version, we can see a fantastic and just as funny genius played by Will Smith. That goes hand-in-hand with a number of great songs and quite a lot of action. Naomi Scott was in charge of bringing Princess Jasmine to life, who, with the help of Aladdin, will save her people and her father from the evil Jafar.
- Fun fact: In one of the scenes of the movie, we can see Aladdin’s magic carpet making a castle in the sand. This castle is an exact replica of the castle that appears in all of the opening credits of recent Disney releases.
7. Mia Wasikowska
Director James Bobin decided to carry on with Alice Through The Looking Glass’ shooting featuring the then little-known Australian actress Mia Wasikowska. Wasikowska, in fact, made her debut in the film industry with the first installment of the film. This was also the first major role in the career of this actress who, without a doubt, delivered an outstanding performance.
- Fun fact: You might not have realized that 6 actors from the Harry Potter saga actually appear in this film: Helena Bonham Carter, Frances de la Tour, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Rhys Owain Evans, and Paul Whitehouse.
8. Kristen Stewart
In 2012, Snow White and the Huntsman broke all kinds of stereotypes. There we see Kristen Stewart playing a much more warlike, determined, and independent princess, than the one we knew from our childhood stories. The film also dared to present a revamped version that distanced itself from the original plot.
- Fun fact: Stewart had to overcome her fear of horses to shoot some of the action scenes. She suffered from a phobia because she fell from a horse when she was still a child and broke her elbow.
9. Drew Barrymore
Ever After was one of the first live-action movies based on the classic animated versions. That’s also why it’s one of the first movies to feature a more relatable and human Disney princess. This version of Cinderella could be any of us. Clearly that meant that the original story had to be tweaked to bring it closer to people’s daily lives. Ever After takes place in medieval France. Cinderella, played by Drew Barrymore, is constantly tormented by her evil stepmother, but thanks to her wit and courage she finds her way and meets Prince Henry.
- Fun fact: The famous actress has said several times that this is her favorite movie of all the ones she has played in.
10. Léa Seydoux
In 2014, French cinema also made an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, La Belle et la Bête. There, Léa Seydoux plays the role of Belle and shows just how versatile an actress can be. Thanks to her incredible creative freedom, she delivered a performance that was full of elegance.
- Fun fact: By the time the French live-action film was released, the story of Beauty and the Beast had been adapted to the big screen more than a dozen times.
11. MacKenzie Mauzy
MacKenzie Mauzie, who used to appear in American soap operas and series, was in charge of bringing Rapunzel, the princess with the long hair, to life in the film Into the Woods. This film is Disney’s version of a musical of the same name.
- Fun fact: Into the Woods was Disney’s first adaptation of a Broadway musical, but it was so successful that it will not likely be the last one.
12. Anna Kendrick
Anna Kendrick is already a regular face in musicals, and she is far from disappointing with her performance of the famous Cinderella for Disney’s live-action Into the Woods. The actress shares credits with renowned actors like Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp.
- Fun fact: The décor of the set was so well-done that when stars Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine first came in, they were truly scared of losing each other or other members of the crew, so they looked after each other and stayed together.
Have you seen all these movies? Which one is your favorite? Let us know which other Disney princesses you would like to see in live-action adaptations.