As some of you might be aware, there is going to be a potential live-action remake of the 1994 animated classic, The Swan Princess. The original movie is one of my all-time favorite movies, not just in animation but in general. It has fantastic songs, a lovely score, great characters, beautiful animation, a cool villain, awesome action scenes, funny comedy, and an engaging romance. So I am both very excited and cautious about the live-action remake, due to how much the animated movie means to be (I was actually born only twenty-one days before the movie was released in theaters). I don’t want it to be an exact copy but rather tell it in a new way while staying true to the original, as well as justify its existence. The creators of the original Swan Princess, it’s two hand-drawn sequels, and its terrible CGI movies are wanting to make a live-action remake of the classic. They are really awesome with how they interact with their fans and even accept that most of the fans really hate the computer-animated movies. They appreciate praise and criticism, unlike some studios that only want praise. Anyway, they created a concept trailer, which is pretty much like what a pilot for a TV series is. It’s to give an idea of what it could be rather than being a finished product, so the actors in it aren’t necessarily going to be in the actual movie, as well as the effects/CGI not being finished. They are looking for the right studio to help make the film a reality. To get an idea, here is the concept trailer.
Anyway, despite being a little nervous about the movie, I am also excited for it because I want to see how they bring it to life. Besides, just like many fans, I’d much rather see a live-action remake of The Swan Princess than one of their computer animated movies, but I won’t go into that. Something I will go into is my dream-cast for this movie. As many of you know, I have a thing for doing my own fan-casts for movies. I’ve even made a video of my fan-casting choices as well, which I will include at the very end of this, which shows their acting and singing abilities. However, I did not include the animal sidekicks (Jean-Bob, Speed, and Puffin) or Bromley and I replaced Bridget (The hag and Rothbart’s little minion) with Rothbart’s daughter from the original Swan Lake ballet, the Black Swan herself, Odile. Let me be clear, I have nothing against those characters AT ALL. I love all of them! However, I feel like their very cartoony and Looney Tunes style of humor wouldn’t work in a live-action setting. So without further ado, here are my casting choices.
Jennifer Morrison as Odette’s Mother
If you have seen Disney’s live-action remakes, you’d know that they have a thing for actually showing the dead mothers of Disney Princesses. Cinderella’s mother, Belle’s mother, they revealed that Ariel’s mother is going to be in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, and while Jasmine’s mother didn’t make a physical appearance, she was mentioned a lot. So why not do the same with The Swan Princess? It could be added to the prologue and have her die giving birth. Jennifer Morrison has proven in Once Upon a Time that she is really incredible in labor scenes. Emma giving birth to Henry is considered one of Jennifer Morrison’s best performances, if not her absolute best. She also has a beautiful singing voice, which could make for a lovely new song in the movie, like a lullaby to Odette before she dies from childbirth. Maybe it would be one that could foreshadow Odette’s journey like the song “All is Found” from Disney’s Frozen II. Plus, Emma Swan is basically the Odette of the Once Upon a Time world. She’s too old to play Odette but she can still play her mother.
Kevin Kline as King William
I instantly thought of him for King William because of his role in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. He showed such tenderness and a loving fatherly nature as Maurice that he would be perfect for King William, who is protective of nurturing towards Odette. He can also be funny and charming, which is another part of King William. He’d be able to show what a loving father and an entertaining character he is, which will make his death all the more heartbreaking and you could even show flashbacks to Odette’s childhood that shows how much she misses her father. The live-action remake should show more of how Odette is traumatized by her father’s death and how she didn’t get to say goodbye, hug him one last time, or tell him that she loves him for the very last time (But still have the main focus be on her relationship with Derek and try to develop it further). So it would add a layer of depth and complexity to Odette’s character and showing some flashbacks of their bond will make her refusal to give Rothbart her father’s kingdom even more powerful than it already is. She’d also wonder if she’d be the kind of queen he wanted her to be or he would be proud of, which he would be because she’d be putting the needs of her people ahead of her own by not giving into Rothbart. Kevin Kline is a strong actor that would exemplify everything that would make for a great King William and help with Odette’s own journey as a character with her wanting to make him proud. Not to mention that Kevin Kline has Broadway experience and can really sing. He actually has a better voice than what he had displayed in the remake of Beauty and the Beast, which will be important for the musical sequence, “This is My Idea.”
Josh Gad as Chamberlain
I can’t imagine anyone else as Chamberlain! I mean, he’s flamboyant, he’s hilarious, he doesn’t rely on shouting or being loud for humor, he can be subtle, he can act, he can dance, he has so much charisma, and he can sing. Josh Gad IS Chamberlain! His credits speak for themselves with his Broadway work, voice acting, and film work. Sure, his singing voice is higher than Chamberlain’s but he actually can sing in a lower register. Even if he can’t, he still has a phenomenal voice and so much energy that it wouldn’t really matter. He’d bring alive the musical sequence, “Princesses on Parade.” He’d be able to make the humor of Chamberlain feel like it’s more natural in the live-action remake the same way he managed to make Lefou feel more grounded in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.
Sandy Duncan as Queen Uberta
This won’t take much explanation because of the fact that she is the original voice actress for Queen Uberta in the original film. She’s the right age to play her in live-action and even said she could do Uberta now. She’s known as “Funny Girl, Sandy Duncan” for a reason. She will be able to bring Uberta to life with her humor, charm, quirkiness, and charisma. But also show her caring and motherly side. Besides, it would be a great callback to the original movie to have her reprise her role in live-action.
David Hyde Pierce as Lord Rogers
This would be absolutely PERFECT! I mean, if you have seen him in his most iconic role, Niles Crane from the sitcom Frasier, you’d know he would be able to capture the dry wit that Rogers is known for. He can also do physical comedy as well, which Rogers does some of. Not to mention he can also pull off the wise and caring mentor aspect that Rogers is to Derek. He has such an appealing sounding speaking voice that is 100% right for Rogers. He’s the right age and still has a lot of energy in him, despite his age. He also has Broadway experience, so he’d be able to pull off the singing aspect as well.
Bella Thorne as Odile
I know a lot of people hate on Bella Thorne, but that doesn’t change what a brilliant actress she is with A LOT of experience. She’s been acting since she was six-years-old and even played a villain at the age of eleven (Maybe even younger) in the movie Forget Me Not. She has experience playing villains in movies like The Duff, You Get Me, The Babysitter, and The Babysitter: Killer Queen. She can be very frightening, especially in You Get Me, despite the film not being very good. Just the look of her eyes shows how intimidating she is. She can be very sassy and make it come off as very natural and not feel forced. She puts her heart and soul into every role she’s in. It’s always clear that she is giving it her all. While her movie Infamous was received negatively, her performance received critical acclaim. One critic in particular compared her talents to award-winning actress, Sandra Bullock. Her acting talents have even been praised by award-winning actress, Jessica Chastain, as well as many other celebrities that just loved working with her (Which is pretty much everyone she’s worked with). She’s very seductive, which Odile is known for, and is absolutely gorgeous. She also has a lovely singing voice. Nothing great but still good enough for a movie musical. If they included her in the movie and decided to make her a redeemable villain, Bella Thorne would be able to show that with her wide range of acting. Crying real tears is something that comes very easily to her. She’d be able to show the complexity and dimensions of the character.
Either way, it makes much more sense to have Odile be in the role of the Black Swan instead of Bridget. The Fake Odette is supposed to act seductive and also give Derek some hesitation to show that he has a feeling something isn’t right. It shows how he isn’t only interested in Odette because of her looks. This makes more sense with Odile because her behavior and mannerisms should be more like her own rather than like Odette’s, which doesn’t work with Bridget. In all the scenes that Bridget is in, she’s very comedic, wacky, silly, and over-the-top in her behavior and mannerisms. That makes her entertaining, but it doesn’t make sense in the context of the Black Swan trick. Just an observation I have. Not to mention that it could give Rothbart more motivation for wanting the kingdom, because of his love for his daughter. Besides, a lot of fans are hoping that Odile will be in the live-action remake. In my opinion, Bella Thorne is the only real choice for the Black Swan. She’s a phenomenal actress, she’s a good singer, she’s sexy and seductive, and she’s gorgeous. With a major movie like this, she could end up getting an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress and have people finally take her seriously as an actress. I think she’s the most talented actor on this fan-cast list (I don’t care what anyone says) and that is saying something because this cast is phenomenally talented.
Toby Stephens as Rothbart
First of all, I cast a real redhead as Rothbart because I’m not ignoring gingerism like a lot of people are. Second of all, talent is in his blood, since he is the son of critically acclaimed actors, Robert Stephens and Maggie Smith. With brilliant talents like that for parents, you know that he has to be a brilliant talent as well. He is a phenomenal actor with many credits to his name. He’d be able to capture the gruffness of Rothbart but also the class, anger, sinister nature, wit, and energetic charisma of the character. He can also sing, though out of all the actors here, he has the weakest voice. However, his voice suits the character. It’s deep and raspy, which is perfect for the musical sequence, “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” He’s the second most talented actor on here, next to Bella Thorne, which makes sense because villains tend to be the ones to steal the show. Everyone loves a good villain. Honestly, I can’t imagine anyone else as Rothbart but Toby Stephens.
Derek Klena as Prince Derek
I mean, he already has the name for it, though that had nothing to do with this casting choice. He has an incredible singing voice and a lot of Broadway experience. He even played another Non-Disney hero on Broadway in the musical Anastasia as the love interest, Dimitri. YES! I’m aware that Disney bought 20th Century Fox and therefore own Anastasia. However, I still don’t consider Anastasia to be Disney. Anyway, his voice has a love of passion, power, tenderness, and is just the voice of a prince. He also has experience in screen acting and not just stage acting, which are two completely different skillsets. He demonstrates a lot of charm and charisma in his acting, so he’d be able to bring the character to life. When he sings, he shows just what a great actor he is as well as a singer. You can instantly connect with the character he’s playing and what he is feeling/going through. Not to mention that he is really handsome. But I hope that they won’t give Derek that ugly hairstyle that he has in all of the movies.
Demi Lovato as Princess Odette
Now for The Swan Princess herself. I bet some of you think that this is an odd choice because of how Demi is a pop star. However, that doesn’t mean she can’t be a princess. Look at Mandy Moore as Rapunzel in Disney’s Tangled. Besides, look at Demi with blonde hair. She looks exactly like Odette! Demi Lovato’s voice may not be as light as Odette’s usually is, but she still has a voice that would translate very well into the Broadway-style music. Her vocal abilities speak for themselves and are undeniably brilliant. Not only that, but she’s a great actress, which a lot of people seem to forget because of how she focuses on her music career. It also wouldn’t be the first time she’s played an elegant princess, since she was in the Disney Channel original movie, Princess Protection Program. I also feel like she’d be able to capture qualities of Odette that people often overlook. Odette in the original trilogy (Especially the first movie) was feisty, strong-willed, and defiant. Demi represents those qualities perfectly in everything she does. She can capture Odette’s kindness and caring nature, since she is such a loving soul, but also manage to represent other qualities that make Odette who she is. She isn’t afraid to go against Rothbart, find a way to get out of her bad situation, and even defy her father in wanting Derek to tell her what he loves about her besides her looks. She even has some experience with voice acting, so she’d be a natural when having to do voice acting for Odette when in her swan form.
She’d also be able to capture the sexy and seductive behavior that is required for when Odile is disguised as Odette. If you have seen any of Demi Lovato’s music videos where she’s very provocative, she’s clearly able to capture that perfectly. Plus, if the movie does have Odile and they cast Bella, it would work because of how Demi and Bella are actually really good friends, so they’d be able to work together to make sure that Demi could imitate the mannerisms that Bella establishes for Odile.
Lets also not forget that she could help write an original song for the movie, which could get an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. Demi’s songs, more often than not, have a story-telling quality to them. Her songs have her emotions and feeling out on her sleeves for people to know about and sometimes even have something of a character arc. Combine that with a traditional Broadway score by Lex de Azevedo or maybe even with the score from the original Swan Lake ballet by Tchaikovsky. Besides, with her MASSIVE fanbase, she would draw in a LARGE crowd, especially since they would love to see her in a movie musical, particularly one that would have a theatrical release. I wouldn’t be surprised if she got an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
For some bonus material, I’ve included who I would choose to sing the end credit songs from the original movie, “Far Longer Than Forever” and “Eternity.”
“Far Longer Than Forever”: Jordan Fisher and Coco Jones
These two singing a duet together would be absolutely HEAVENLY! They have absolutely amazing voices with wide and versatile vocal ranges. Jordan Fisher is pretty much a male version of Mariah Carey. Coco Jones is pretty much a younger version of Jennifer Hudson. Not to mention singing the end credit song to a remake of an iconic and beloved animated movie could help her get the recognition she deserves. She was done dirty in Hollywood because of her being a dark-skinned black woman. Singing the end credit version of “Far Longer Than Forever” in the live-action remake could be to her what “Reflection” was for Christina Aguilera. That song is what helped make Christina the massive star she is today, so much so that she came back to sing a new version of the song in the live-action remake of Mulan.
“Eternity”: Anneliese van der Pol
Anneliese van der Pol is such an UNDERRATED talent! She has one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s so powerful, she can seriously belt, has such an old fashioned beauty to her voice reminiscent of singers like Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand that is rare to find nowadays, she can be full-on but also tender, and is a Broadway singer. She would do the song justice and would stay true to the spirit of it. I mean, listen to her cover of the song “Candle on the Water.” Usually with Disney Mania, it’s almost always modern style music to classic Disney songs, however, Anneliese’s cover was in the same style as the original song, which is unique. In fact, her cover was better than the original.
Lastly, did you know that The Swan Princess has an OFFICIAL Youtube, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram? They even interact with fans A LOT! Take a look!
You can even send an email to Odette@swanprincessseries.com where you can ask a question and it might be chosen for the monthly Chamberg Daily News (Chamberg is the name of Derek’s kingdom).