With the recent release of the trailer for upcoming live-action interpretation of The Jungle Book and the excitement around the Emma Watson Beauty and the Beast, people have begun to wonder what else Disney Studios has up their sleeves when it comes to future live-action. Surprisingly, most of their future live-action movies are already being written, and some of them even have stars. Let's take a look at some of the ones that don't so far
There has already been a lot of speculation about who will play the title heroine in the live-action version, but if I had a vote, I would pick Tao Okamoto. I don't know if this name means anything to any of you, but she's one of the biggest up-and-coming Asian actresses at this moment. Already having a large role in The Wolverine and Batman v. Superman she's got plenty of big budget experience already under her belt. Now for the next most beloved character from the animated film, Mushu, Disney could go a lot of different directions. We have seen Disney live-actions be much more realistic, with animals that don't talk in Cinderella, but it is obvious that Disney will not stick with this due to the upcoming The Jungle Book. I'm going to refrain from casting Mushu right now because it is totally possible he won't have any dialogue at all. The next most important human is Shang. Booboo Stewart is another up-and-comer who also has plenty of big-budget experience in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The role of Shang needs to be done well, even if he isn't one of the main characters in the film. Stewart has the look as well as the experience to pull off Shang well. The villain Shan Yu must also be impeccable. Shan Yu is one of the most dastardly villains in all of Disney, so he needs to be played by someone just as dastardly. I think the perfect fit is Yun-Fat Chow. He has already showed audiences he can be evil in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, so he just needs to gain a little more muscle weight, grow out his hair, and he'd be perfect for the job.
2. The Little Mermaid
I know right away people are going to want Anna Kendrick to take the role of Ariel, but I don't really like Anna Kendrick, so I am going to propose that Lily Collins have the role. I think she'd be able to fill the shoes (or fins) of one of the most popular Disney princesses ever. Now I don't know whether or not Lily can sing but from the looks of the past few Disney live actions, there won't be a lot of singing involved so there's no reason she shouldn't have the part. Now for Ursula, a vital part of the entire film. The part of Ursula should definitely be given to Kathy Bates. She's shown she knows how to be evil through her role as Ms. Hannigan in Annie and on American Horror Story. I think she'd be perfect for the role. Now Disney has some wiggle room for the role of Prince Eric, they just need to pick someone handsome who can act. I'm going to suggest Finn Wittrock just because I'm a fan and he looks very similar to the animated Prince Eric already.
3. The Sword in the Stone
I don't think many people were surprised when production was announced for this film recently. This is one of the Disney classics that parents grew up with, so regardless of the casting, I think it will be a success. If I were to choose the roles of Wart and Merlin, I would pick Asa Butterfield and Ian McKellen. Personally, I think the live action would be better if Wart was a little bit older than he was in the animated film, and Asa was perfect in Hugo, so why not give him a chance to be an iconic character. Ian McKellen would make a fabulous Merlin, as his performance in the Lord of the Rings trilogy shows. He's much more lively and fun than he lets on to be, and if he brought that personality into The Sword in the Stone it would be iconic.
4. A Night on Bald Mountain?
There's a question mark after that title because no one really knows what this means. All Disney has leaked is that they will be turning this short part of Fantasia into a full length, live action, film. In order to do this they will have to make up some new characters, probably human ones, that will either be the protagonists or antagonists (still unsure on that) against Chernabog. The only character that will be guaranteed to be in the movie is probably Chernabog, and Jeremy Irons should voice this character. Irons has already had success in the Disney realm, voicing the antagonist in The Lion King, Scar. His voice is so British and chilling it would be perfect to play possibly the most evil villain in the Disney realm.
5. Prince Charming Comedy
This film also has much speculation around it, but what it seems like is the story of Prince Charming's brother, who is a little less than charming, and when I think of less than charming comedians, I think of Jonah Hill. I think if Disney is able to snag Hill as its star for this movie, a lot of the criticism around it would fall and people would actually see this movie as it is intended, a comedy about a younger sibling trying to live up to society's expectations of what he should be based on his older brother. If it's done well, this is one of the upcoming live actions I'm most excited for.
6. Aladdin/Genie prequel
In all honesty, this movie is a mistake. Most people, especially my generation, see Genie only as Robin Williams. I don't even know who to cast as young Genie because there's simply no one, in my opinion, that will be able to do the role justice. I'm hoping Disney will realize this before any actual progress is made on the film and it is canceled all together, because, if its not, I think it will be the biggest flop out of all the live action Disney movies.
7. Winnie the Pooh
Supposedly, this film will focus more on a grown up version of Christopher Robin, so more than likely, Disney will find voice actors to match the classic Winnie the Pooh cast's voices. But that still leaves one character unaccounted for, grown up Christopher Robin. I think Jake Gyllenhaal would be perfect to capture the emotion and also inevitable comedic lines behind this role.
Now, these are just the announced live actions that have yet to be cast. There's also The Beauty and the Beast ensemble cast which looks amazing, Pinocchio, which will apparently star Robert Downey Jr. as Geppeto (okay?), and the Tinker Bell standalone film with which will star Reese Witherspoon which is a huge mistake and will have the same amount of success as the new Genie will have. But, to sum it all up, Disney has a lot of work to do in order to make all these films as good as they should and need to be, but I have faith in their abilities to cast some of their most beloved characters well.