Emma Watson, Lily James, Liu Yifei and other actresses who played beloved Disney princesses in live-action remakes

Many actresses have brought animation to life with their live-action adaptations of classic Disney films.

The number of animated Disney princess films still far exceeds the number of live-action remakes, although many more have hit screens in recent years.

Any remake of a classic is sure to face some controversy, but that didn't stop it from being made.

A photo shared of Emma Watson at "The beauty and the Beast" premiere and Lily James at "Cinderella" first

Emma Watson and Lily James, right, are just two of many actresses who have played Disney princesses during their careers. (Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images; )


Although the 2024 Met Gala theme isn't centered around Disney princesses, it's never a bad time to highlight beloved women in classic roles.

  1. Lily James as Cinderella
  2. Emma Watson as Belle
  3. Naomi Scott as Jasmine
  4. Liu Yifei as Mulan
  5. Elle Fanning as Aurora
  6. Halle Bailey as Ariel

1. Lily James as Cinderella

Before she was young Donna in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” Lily James was Cinderella in the 2015 live-action remake of the 1950 animated film.

“Cinderella” (2015) saw an all-star cast, with Helena Bonham Carter as the film's Fairy Godmother and Cate Blanchett as the Evil Stepmother.

This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Costume Design. The original film got a little more recognition at the Academy Awards, with three nominations in 1951.

2. Emma Watson as Belle

Helena Bonham Carter wasn't the only one from the “Harry Potter” franchise to turn to princess films. Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” series, took on a seemingly very different role when she appeared as Belle in “Beauty and the Beast,” although the wizard and princess are similar in their thirst for learning.


The original animated film “Beauty and the Beast” was released in 1991, in which Paige O'Hara was the voice of Belle. In 2017, Watson donned the iconic yellow dress as the character.

Emma Watson at the premiere of "The beauty and the Beast"

Emma Watson played Belle in the 2017 live-action remake of the Disney classic, “Beauty and the Beast.” (Michael Stewart/Getty Images)

A huge difference between Watson's character in the Wizarding World and the princess in the Disney story was the singing and dancing involved in her role as Belle.

Watson spoke about the challenge of singing and dancing in the role during a 2017 interview with “Good Morning America.”

“It's something I've always done and always loved doing, but to do it in such a beloved musical and when the songs are so well known, I think I really felt the weight of it.” , Watson told the media. “[I] I do not know how to explain it. It's a totally different thing to act a certain way. There is nothing to hide behind. It's your voice and yeah, I felt really naked doing it for the first time so I think that was the hardest.”


3. Naomi Scott as Jasmine

Naomi Scott played a new version of Jasmine in the live-action rendition of the beloved classic “Aladdin.”

The original animated version of the film was released in 1992. The updated live-action remake was released in 2019.

Scott was no stranger to singing before landing the role of Jasmine. In one of her first roles, she played a band member in the Disney Channel movie “Lemonade Mouth.”

The princess is more present in the 2019 film than in the 1992 version. In the original version, Jasmine's only song was in the duet “A Whole New World”.

Naomi Scott at "Aladdin" first

Naomi Scott gave a solo performance in the live-action remake of “Aladdin” with the song “Speechless.” (Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

In 2019, Scott had an additional solo moment as Jasmine, with the powerful new song she sang in the film called “Speechless.”

In the new film, Will Smith played the magical genie, while Mena Massoud played Aladdin.

4. Liu Yifei as Mulan

“Mulan,” the animated classic and the remake, are both very action-packed compared to other Disney princess films.

The live-action remake was released in 2020, starring Liu Yifei as the bold princess.

The original animated film featured Ming-Na Wen as the voice of Mulan, with Eddie Murphy as Mushu, a character noticeably absent from the 2020 film.

Although both films follow a similar premise, the approach to the story is different. The live-action film had a much more serious tone than the original. In the original, there's even more action than a traditional Disney princess story, but there are still plenty of sing-along songs in the classic film, like “Reflection,” “Honor to Us All” and “I’ll Make a Man.” Out of you.”

The new film incorporated some of the classic songs, but in a different way, opting for instrumental versions rather than characters singing the tunes themselves.

5. Elle Fanning as Aurora

Elle Fanning played Princess Aurora, also known as Sleeping Beauty, in films that told the story of the evil Maleficent, played by Angelina Jolie.

Elle Fanning at the premiere of "Maleficent"

Elle Fanning played Princess Aurora in two “Maleficent” films, in 2014 and 2019. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Disney's original animated version of “Sleeping Beauty” was released in 1959. It was in 2014 that the first of the two “Maleficent” films was released.

A second film, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”, was released in 2019.

6. Halle Bailey as Ariel

One of the most recent actresses to play a Disney princess was Halle Bailey. Bailey played Ariel in the 2023 version of “The Little Mermaid.”

The original version of “The Little Mermaid” was released in 1989. In this version of the film, Jodi Benson played the beloved character.

The film contains updated versions of the original songs from the animated film, including “Part of Your World”, “Kiss the Girl”, and “Under the Sea”. There are also three completely new songs on this film's soundtrack.


Melissa McCarthy sang another classic song from the original, “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” as Ursula.

This song was also changed for the new film, with the lines removed: “You'll have your look / Your pretty face / And don't underestimate the importance of body language, ha! / The men up there don't don't do like many gossips / They think a girl who gossips is boring / Yes, on earth, it's far preferable / That ladies don't say a word / And after all, darling, what's the point of them. chatter / Come on, they'? I'm not really impressed by the conversation / Real gentlemen avoid it when they can / But they adore, swoon and flatter themselves / On a lady who is withdrawn / It's her who holds his tongue who becomes a man.


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