Part of … our world? Over the last few years, Disney has been working nonstop to bring their classic animated movies back to the screen via live-action adaptions. This is extremely exciting for Disney fanatics — as well as fans of certain celebs who have been lucky enough to take on the iconic characters.
Then a relatively unknown star, Lily James took on the role of Cinderella in Disney’s live-action 2015 adaptation of the 1950 film. Dressed in the princess’ signature blue gown and blonde curls, the Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again star danced the night away with Game of Thrones‘ Richard Madden, who was cast as her Prince Charming.
The next star to step into her princess gown was Emma Watson, who was cast perfectly as The Beauty and the Beast’s Belle in the 2017 film. Alongside Josh Gad (LeFou), Luke Evans (Gaston) and Dan Stevens (unrecognizable as the Beast), the Harry Potter star portrayed the smart and sweet leading lady.
As opposed to the 1991 animation, 2017’s Belle didn’t wear a corset. The princess was also given a career of her own — a feminist update that we in part have the U.K. native to thank for.
“In the animated movie, it’s her father who is the inventor, and we actually co-opted that for Belle,” Watson told Entertainment Weekly in November 2016. “I was like, ‘Well, there was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in, other than she liked books. Also, what is she doing with her time?’ So, we created a backstory for her, which was that she had invented a kind of washing machine so that instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read instead. So, yeah, we made Belle an inventor.”
There are characters besides princesses that deserve a new background story, though! Stars who have taken on the role of Disney villains include Angelina Jolie, who brought empathy to the story of Sleeping Beauty’s villain Maleficent in the franchise of the same name, and Emma Stone, who portrayed a young Cruella de Vil in 2021’s Cruella.
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