I remember it like it was yesterday when Disney announced that they would finally be giving us their first Black princess, I remember being overcome with joy at the idea my sister and cousins would finally have a princess that reflects them. I remember seeing the first images of Tiana and thinking that she was so pretty and being so excited to see the film. I remember seeing the excitement and the joy on the faces of the little black girls and grown black women in my family when we turned going to see the movie into a family outing. We all had to be there we all had to see it for ourselves we all had to see the first black Disney Princess. With the recent string of live action adaptations Disney has been doing of their classic films many fans are wondering if or when the newer ones will also get the live action treatment with The Princess and the Frog being high up on the list. So as usual my mind began to wonder and the gears began to turn, what exactly would a live action Princess and the Frog cast look like? Well I’ve got the answer right here so check it out.
Aja Naomi King as Tiana
From the moment I saw her I’ve always said that Aja Naomi King looks like a living breathing Disney princess. She’s absolutely adorable and one hell of an actress. I know the popular fancast for Tiana is Lupita, but Aja embodies Tiana perfectly. Her character Michaela from the hit ABS show ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ shows that Aja can play a layered character that’s serious, a go-getter, and focused as well as funny. It also doesn’t hurt that she looks exactly like the character…overstated cartoon features aside. As a character Tiana is focused, goal oriented, and a hard worker with a very serious drive and passion for her goals which again sounds alot like Aja’s ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ character.
Alfre Woodard and Dennis Haysbert as Eudora and James
I chose Alfre Woodard to play Tiana’s mother, Eudora, because I’ve always gotten this loving, caring, mothery feeling from Alfre Woodard. She also reminds me of the auntie that you can tell any and everything to and know she will still have your back. She reminds me alot of Tiana’s mom because Eudora is extremely supportive of her daughter and their bond is something really special to see shine through the film. I chose Dennis Haysbert as Tiana’s father James I can totally see him as the supportive father that is the source of Tiana’s love for cooking. Dennis Haysbert’s voice is like a smooth whiskey.
Sendhil Ramamurthy as Prince Naveen
I know everyone says that Prince Naveen was racially ambiguous, but I always saw him as Indian. I can’t explain why but I just always read him that way. I know we usually see Sendhil in very serious and stern roles, but I have a feeling that he knows how to cut loose and as an actor I’m pretty sure he could bring Naveen’s inner party animal to life. I could see him dancing down the streets of New Orleans looking and feeling carefree. Also lets be honest Sendhil holds one of the top requirements to be a Disney Prince..just like Naveen he is impossibly handsome, not to mention suave. Homeboy smoother than baby hair with Johnson & Johnson products.
Giancarlo Esposito as Dr. Facilier
Little known fact about me I love villains, especially Disney villains, and Dr. Facilier is one of my favorites. Facilier also known as the Voodoo Man has a devilish charm and wit to him that I think Giancarlo Esposito could work wonders with. Esposito is a seriously underrated and underused talent that has been around for years and definitely deserves more roles that let him shine and show off just how good he is. Just like Facilier Esposito is handsome and as smooth as baby hair. Esposito is amazing at portraying charming, sinister, and devious characters which would put the Voodoo Man right up his alley. I get giddy just thinking about Esposito performing “Friends on the Other Side”.
Tina Lifford as Mama Odie
Anyone who has seen Ava DuVernay’s critically acclaimed show, ‘Queen Sugar’ on OWN should be familiar with Tina Lifford and her character Aunt Vi. On the show Lifford plays the Bordelon family matriarch, the family’s source of advice, wisdom, and discipline. When I was thinking about who should play Mama Odie I instantly thought of Ms. Lifford because she has such a fun personality and presence and she is so good at portraying the wise yet tender and sweet elder. Now I know Mama Odie is supposed to be a 197 year old woman, but that don’t mean she gotta look like one now does it?
Omar Dorsey as Louis the Alligator
Omar is another Queen Sugar alum whose character Hollywood I came to absolutely adore. Omar’s character, Hollywood, is extremely kind, considerate, fun loving, and boy does he know how to have a good time. Omar does a stellar job of making you love Hollywood like family and that’s the kind of actor that a walking talking trumpet playing alligator needs.
Jim Cummings as Ray
Jim Cummings is a voice acting LEGEND with a capital L and the original voice of everyones favorite cajun firefly Ray. Just to give you a rundown of just a tad bit of Jim’s resume he has voiced Ray, Winnie The Pooh, Razoul from Aladdin, Darkwing Duck, Ed the Hyena from Lion King, and many many more. I wouldn’t dare change a single thing about Jim’s portrayal of Ray.
Amanda Seyfried as Charlotte “Lottie” La Bouff
Amanda Seyfried is quite good at comedically portraying characters like Tiana’s friend Lottie. Many of us were first introduced to Seyfried back during Mean Girls when she played everyone’s favorite blonde boob forecasting Plastic, Karen Smith. Lottie is full of energy and theatrics something that we have all seen Seyfried play in other films. I can see her racing around now asking Tiana to make a whole heap of beignets for one of her fancy soirees.
John Goodman as Eli “Big Daddy” La Bouff
Goodman is the original voice actor for Big Daddy La Bouff and as one of my favorite actors I wouldn’t dare change a thing about it. As a native southern man Goodman has a southern drawl that just reminds me of home and I honestly can’t imagine anyone else bringing this character to life. Big Daddy La Bouff is Lottie’s father who as many of you who have seen the original animated film will tell you spoils her to pieces about as much as anyone nicknamed “Big Daddy” would. For all my Southern readers out there we all know that down South anybody nicknamed “Big Daddy” generally comes from money and has no issue throwing it around like confetti and beads at a Mardi Gras celebration.
Toby Jones as Lawrence
Lawrence is easily one of the sneakiest snakes to ever appear in a Disney film, he is bumbling and plain and definitely not very clever. His ideas, approach, and execution are all extremely ham-fisted and lack any sort of tact or real thought. So I figured why not add a little something to him make him a little more than a push over…cast someone who can push that frustration right on over into sheer hatred and anger, cue Toby Jones. Toby Jones is one of those actors that does creepy, sly, and manipulative extremely well and for that very reason I chose him to portray Naveen’s royal valet.