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Emma Watson, Lily James, other stars who played princesses ahead of the ‘Sleeping Beauties’ themed Met Gala



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

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

Any remake of a classic is certainly going to face some controversy, but that has not prevented them from being made.

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

Lily James as Cinderella
Emma Watson as Belle
Naomi Scott as Jasmine
Liu Yifei as Mulan
Elle Fanning as Aurora
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 a star-studded cast, with Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother in the movie, and Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother.

This movie was nominated for an Academy Award in the category “best achievement in costume design.” The original movie had a bit more Oscar recognition, with three nominations in 1951.

2. Emma Watson as Belle
Helena Bonham Carter was not the only one from the “Harry Potter” franchise to pivot to princess films. Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” series, took on a seemingly very different role when she emerged as Belle in “Beauty in the Beast,” although both the wizard and the princess are similar in their eagerness to learn

The original “Beauty and the Beast” animated movie came out in 1991, where Paige O’Hara was the voice of Belle. In 2017, Watson stepped into the iconic yellow gown as the character.

One huge difference between Watson’s character in the wizarding world and the princess in the Disney story was the singing and dancing that was involved in her role as Belle.

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

“It’s something I’ve always done and always loved to do, 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 that,” Watson told the outlet. “[I] don’t know how to explain it. It’s a totally different thing from acting in a way. There’s nothing to hide behind. It’s your voice and yeah, I felt very sort of 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 movie came out in 1992. The updated live-action remake was released in 2019.

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

The princess has a larger presence 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.”

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

In the new movie, 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 quite action-packed compared to other Disney princess movies.

The live-action remake came out in 2020, with Liu Yifei as the daring princess.

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

Even though both movies follow a similar premise, the approach to the story was different. The live-action movie had a lot more of a serious tone than the original. In the original, there is still more action than that of a traditional Disney princess story, but there are still many sing-alongs in the classic movie, like “Reflection,” “Honor to Us All” and “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”

The new movie 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 movies that tell the origin story of the evil Maleficent, played by Angelina Jolie.

The original animated Disney version of “Sleeping Beauty” came out in 1959. It was 2014 when the first of two “Maleficent” films was released.

A second movie, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” came out 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” came out in 1989. In this version of the film, Jodi Benson voiced the beloved character.

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

Melissa McCarthy delivered her performance of another classic song from the original, “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” as Ursula.

This song was also changed for the new movie, with the removal of the lines, “You’ll have your looks / Your pretty face / And don’t underestimate the importance of body language, ha! / The men up there don’t like a lot of blabber / They think a girl who gossips is a bore / Yes, on land it’s much preferred / For ladies not to say a word / And after all, dear, what is idle babble for? / Come on, they’re not all that impressed with conversation / True gentlemen avoid it when they can / But they dote and swoon and fawn / On a lady who’s withdrawn / It’s she who holds her tongue who get’s a man.”

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