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The Princess And The Frog – A Live-Action Casting call

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The Princess And The Frog image
Walt Disney Studios

Have you ever thought about who would be best to take the lead roles in a live-action adaptation? We’re going to look at the casting for The Princess And The Frog and hope that someday it happens.

Over the last several years Disney has delighted us with a few live-action remakes of their classic animated films. Such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and the Lion king to list a few. There have also been whisperings of more to come. These include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pinocchio and of course the long-awaited Little Mermaid. Which has been promised to us for the last 10 years. There’s also word out there that there may be a remake of Snow White and Peter Pan as well… But, do we really need another Snow White or Peter Pan live-action Film? Is the mighty ‘Hook’ from 1991 not enough to keep our Peter Pan longings at bay?

Come on Disney, instead of trying to rehash the poison apple, speaking mirrors and pirates of old. All this has been done to death by plenty of film companies. Remake a film that really made waves in the ’00s, which not only got nominated for several Academy awards but also had one hell of a soundtrack. Come on Princess and the Frog live-action remake where are you?

Unfortunately, there’s not a single plan yet put forward for this remake. But as there are so many amazing actors that could fill some of these roles. We thought we would cast the film for Disney in hopes that they would carry on where we left off and make it!

Tiana

Back when they were casting for the original film, according to IMDB, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, and Tyra Banks were all in the running to voice the role. With both Keys and Banks personally rallying for the part. The part was finally offered to Hudson’s, Dream Girls co-star Anika Noni Rose.

As the Princess and the Frog (2009), was the Studio’s first musical film, since Beauty and the Beast (1991), where all the voice actors do both the speaking and singing parts. It’s only right that for the live-action version we give it the same courtesy. And cast as many parts as we can with actors that can do both.

China Anne McClain – For this casting option for The Princess and the Frog we’ve picked someone that has been right under the studio’s noses. Disney Channel alumni China Anne McClain.

McClain is the perfect candidate for the role of Tiana. Not only has she got experience acting and singing in both ‘A.N.T. Farm’ and the Disney Channels film franchise ‘Descendants’. She is also known for being the kick-ass female superhero ‘Lighting’ in Netflix ‘Black Lightning’. Giving her the best experience to play the inspirationally strong-willed Tiana.

Granted, it looks like she is currently thinking about an acting break and working on some of her own projects. But maybe the lure of a Disney princess status and the fact that half of the job will be voice acting, something she hasn’t done much of yet, may persuade her to say yes to the role.

Prince Naveen

In the original movie, Prince Naveen was voiced by Bruno Campos. A Brazilian actor who imitated a French accent for the role. This fit Prince Naveen’s character as he is from the made-up country of Maldonia. Yet, as it is a made-up land it doesn’t really matter which accent the Prince has. But as it worked in the original, why not cast an actor whose first languages are Spanish like Bruno Campos or French Like Prince Naveen.

David Alvarez – David Alvarez, known for being one of the original Billy’s in Broadway’s Billy Elliot. He’s a highly successful dancer and actor across some of the world’s most famous stages. He is also soon to hit the big screen for the first time as one of the main characters ‘Bernardo Vasquez’ in Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of the 1957 musical West Side Story rumoured to be released December 10th 2021.

Alvarez, would make the best Prince Naveen. Not only in physical likeness but his acting, singing and dancing credentials alone make him the number one casting option.

Charlotte La Bouff

The outgoing friend of Tiana will need someone just as bubbly as she is. Although she isn’t the main subject of the film, as much as she would have wanted to have been, there is still quite a big role here. There are some big shoes to fill from the original voice actor Jennifer Cody.

Maddie Ziegler – Dance moms favourite Maddie is the best formula of energy and sassiness which she could harness and use to really make this character her own. The dancer, actress, author and model has already appeared in a host of roles including Sia’s iconic music videos. She is also set to feature alongside our Prince Naveen pick – David Alvarez, as Velma in West Side Story later this year.

Dr Facillier (Shadow Man)

The main Antagonist Dr Faciller could be one of the trickier characters to cast. Not because he is a difficult character to master. But because there is a whole host of actors that could do him justice and I’m sure would like to take on the role. Even the original voice of the Shadow Man, Keith David could play the live-action part.

Other names that have been considered in casting for the Princess and the Frog include Terrence Howard (who was the original voice of Tiana’s Father), Forest Whitaker, Morris Chestnut, and even Will Smith. But when we really thought about it there’s only one legendary actor that would really nail the character for us.

Don Cheadle – After almost four decades of acting and a plethora of Emmy and Academy Award nominations.

Cheadle has played almost every kind of role you can think of from staring in the Marvel franchise, Portraying comedy character’s, serious biographical character’s all the way to his small role in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But I think The Shadow man is one that Cheadle can really put all his experiences into. This is one character we really want to see happen!

Laurence

Originally voiced by Peter Bartlett there is an argument to cast him for the part. Or even the likes of Timothy Spall as he has done similar roles like this in Enchanted (2007). But this character is the only one that is up for interpretation as he is not a huge role. Yet he is an important piece to the film’s narrative. He is the one that gets morphed into Price Naveen’s body. With the storyline the way it is, where he looking to get married to Charlotte a 19-year-old (as Naveen), it would make sense to go with a younger actor.

Gaten Matarazzo – We already know from his years as Dustin in ‘Stranger Things’ that this kid has the comedy chops! But what would be good to see is if he could portray the sneakiness of the character too, something we haven’t seen from him yet. We’re pretty sure he has it in the acting bank though.

Edora (Tiana’s Mum)

The incredible Oprah Winfrey voiced this part in the original. Again there’s nothing to say she couldn’t be cast for this part now. But there is one other actress and singer that could take this part and make it into a bigger one. After all, if you look at the remakes such as Beauty and the Beast (2017) where there were new songs added. Maybe we could add a song into this remake too, especially for Edora.

Jenifer Hudson – After the film upset of 2019 which was ‘Cats’, Hudson needs a bit of a redo on the animated to live-action film front. Known as a singer first but still an amazing actress she can follow on the desire to have a full cast that performs all their parts especially if she gets a new song just for her.

James (Tiana’s Dad)

In the Lion King films, animated and live-action, they used the same voice for Mufasa (Simba’s dad), James Earl Jones. We’re proposing that The Princess and the Frog follow their lead. After all, he is only in the first scene but how cool would it be to get the original voice to come back for the part?

Terrence Howard – There’s no need for casting to look for anyone else when this guy is right here to play the part in The Princess and the Frog. Also after six seasons of Empire, it might be nice to see Howard in a softer role.

Mama Odie

For Mama Odie, to get the look and feel of the character right we do need to go a little older than the original actor Jenifer Lewis. To match with the cartoon, and we were thinking of going iconic for this quirky yet brilliant character.

Patti LaBelle – As a legendary singer and actress, LaBelle will knock this role out of the park, I can’t wait to hear her blast out ‘Dig a little deeper’, can you?

Big Daddy’ La Bouff

When you look at the characterisation of Big Daddy, and take his name into consideration, there’s no wonder they cast John Goodman as the voice. But 11 years after the film was released it might be a good idea to change the character up and go for someone else for the role.

Jack Black – What if the play on Big Daddy, was that he wasn’t that tall? If that’s something we could factor in. In later years Black has done quite a few family films and would make a great addition to the line-up.

Voice Roles

Ray

There are two main roles within this film which need to be cast too, Ray being one of them. Originally voiced by Jim Cummings. Ray is the heart and the soul of this picture and needs someone with experience to bring this strange but loveable little firefly to life.

Steve Buscemi – Over the years Buscemi has been cashing in on his voice acting work in films such as G-Force (2009), The Boss Baby (2017) and the Hotel Transylvania film series (2012 – 2021). He is more than equipped to voice the lovesick Ray.

Louis

The Alligator just wants to play the trumpet in the band. He’s a big voice to cast and again with some big boots to fill as Michael-Leon Wooley really gave him the personality he deserves in the first feature. The Alligator was named after the great Louis Armstrong so whoever we cast needs to live up to the expectations.

CeeLo Green – Singer-songwriter isn’t hugely known for his acting skills, but he has picked up some roles along the way, mainly as a performer. But for us, with his personality, there’s no one better to play the role.


Well, this is our idea of casting the main characters in The Princess and The Frog, what do you think? Do you have any other suggestions? If so, comment below and let us know.


Check out five Disney movies with hidden Easter Eggs HERE.

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No Time To Die – Review

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Metro Goldwyn Mayer

No Time To Die is the 25th instalment in the official James Bond series. It’s the VERY long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Spectre. The 6-year gap between the two films is only matched by the same gap between Timothy Dalton’s last outing in 1989’s Licence To Kill and Pierce Brosnan’s debut in 1995’s Goldeneye. Here’s our review of No Time To Die.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the film, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

Of course, there are mitigating factors in that enormous gap. Namely COVID. Which made No Time To Die the first major film to delay its release due to the pandemic. Although, this film has had a difficult gestation irrespective of the global situation in the last 18 months. As soon as Spectre was released the speculation over Daniel Craig’s future in the role began. With him initially suggesting he would rather slash his own wrists than play the iconic spy again. He did a mea culpa on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show in August 2017, where he confirmed he would appear as Bond for a fifth and final time. The original director and writer, Danny Boyle and John Hodge, left the project a year later over creative differences. Cory Joji Fukunaga took over as director. While Bond script veterans Robert Wade and Neil Purvis took charge of the screenplay – with a sprinkling of magic from Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Delays

Originally slated for release in April 2020, at long last, we finally get to see Daniel Craig’s denouement as 007. His portrayal of Bond has been very much in keeping with the character of Ian Fleming’s original novels. His performances have certainly followed the dramatic lineage of Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. Rather than the lighter portrayals by Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. Yet his Bond has displayed a vulnerability only really demonstrated with any plausibility by George Lazenby in his solitary outing as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

The deference to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is presented in stark relief throughout this 2h43min epic. Making this the longest Bond film in the series. As this was the first film I’ve seen at the cinema since before the pandemic, I was already excited before I even sat down. As a massive James Bond fan as well, I was close to apoplexy! I felt a tangible shiver go down my spine as the iconic gun barrel sequence appeared before we see James cruising around Italy in the classic DB5 with Madeleine Swann at his side. This anticipation was clearly felt by other cinema-goers. They have made No Time To Die break the UK box office record for the biggest opening weekend. It took almost £26m, breaking the record previously held by Skyfall.

I’m not going to spoil the plot for those who’ve not seen it. I had made a conscious decision to avoid spoilers before I went.

A step up?

This film is another shot in the arm for those who see Craig as the definitive Bond. This was aided by a refocusing of the Bond canon after the main tropes of the series were stretched to breaking point by the invisible cars and melting ice palaces of Die Another Day. And then stretched still further by Madonna’s cameo as a fencing instructor. Daniel Craig was given leeway to truly regenerate James Bond for the 21st Century. The stripped-back nature of Casino Royale, without most of the supporting characters that have been a staple of the series like Q and Moneypenny. Gave him licence (pardon the pun) to explore the deepest and darkest recesses of the Bond psyche. Some well-drawn female leads and villains really allowed Craig’s Bond to spar with them with depth and genuine emotion.

That exploration continues and grows in No Time To Die. We get to see an ageing, truly world-weary Bond, whose past he appears unable to escape. This leaves him in a state of almost constant angst. Paradoxically though, we also see him truly relaxed at times. In a way I can’t recall ever seeing James Bond in any of his previous cinematic outings.

Screen time

The issue with that exploration is that a number of characters then have their screen time cut. Moneypenny is reduced to little more than a cameo. And Remi Malek’s Safin is almost secondary as he features in the opening moments as his story is told, but then disappears for what seemed like an eternity. He of course reappears but he almost seems a mild irritation within the plot and merely a conduit to allow us to see the climax of Daniel Craig’s Bond era. It’s a disappointing underuse of a terrific actor. One with a captivating screen presence, who could have been one of the most menacing Bond villains of all time. That said, the influence of his dastardly but highly sophisticated plan is felt by all of the main protagonists. Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld continues to wreak his havoc with malevolent glee from his cell. He again revels in the chaos of his twisted sibling rivalry with Bond.

Lea Seydoux is wonderful again as Dr Madeleine Swann, picking up where she left off in Spectre and giving Bond as good as he gets in every way imaginable.

There are new characters who definitely cut through. Ana De Armas is utterly charming in her relatively brief time on-screen as Paloma, while Lashana Lynch takes no nonsense from Bond as Nomi. She also gives us a potential indicator as to the future direction of the franchise. Which has been the subject of much discussion in all quarters. That debate has even made its way into the political sphere with even Boris Johnson weighing in on what gender the next actor to play 007 should be.

Score

Hans Zimmer’s score is classic Hans Zimmer, adding power and bombast to the usual mix of stunning scenery and brilliantly choreographed stunts. He brilliantly weaves nods to previous entries in the Bond musical tapestry throughout his score. While his cues are always thunderous, they never overpower the action on screen, but do add a sonic rumble that I don’t think has been heard in a Bond score for quite some time. I found Fukunaga’s direction a bit mixed, with some of the cinematography unnecessarily showy. Some of the tracking shots almost gave me motion sickness while some (admittedly beautifully composed) shots of the scenery seemed to have made the edit purely so as whoever the drone operator was could demonstrate their skills.

Duration

The film is much too long, although at no point did I check my watch. It’s not that any of the plot points are superfluous, more that the pacing is a little slow in places. Some of the dialogue feels cliched and clunky, making what is a great story feel a tad generic. Which doesn’t do anyone justice. However, there were some excellent jokes, and I laughed out loud several times. You don’t have to be a 007 super fan to get some of the self-referential humour that they seem to enjoy sprinkling throughout the film.

Billie Eilish’s theme song is a worthy addition to the collection and certainly sits comfortably within the top half of the ‘Bond Theme Chart’. It’s definitely more memorable and evocative than Sam Smith’s ‘Writing On The Wall’ for Spectre. Her voice trembles at times as you can almost feel she recognises the significance of singing the theme for Daniel Craig’s final appearance in the franchise.

It was also very pleasing to see that this film has moved with the times and reflects the world of 2021 with its portrayal of women. Every single female character had a genuine purpose and important role within the plot. While of course, the female actors playing those roles are all irrefutably glamorous and attractive. There was genuine respect and no objectification of women.

Wrapping up

I came out of the screening with mixed emotions. Glad to be back in the cinema on one hand, sad that Daniel Craig’s stint ordering Martini’s was over on the other. I was pleased that such a good climax had been created to bring this era of Bond to a close, and all its story arcs had been brought to conclusions. I’m also excited and apprehensive in equal measure for the future of such an iconic film series. But I was disappointed with some of the characters not getting the necessary screen-time to truly develop their characters. Surprisingly, I was almost tearful at the final few moments, especially as the credits rolled.

Overall, this is a loving homage to the James Bond series, past and present. It’s a solid if unspectacular film in its own right, but the performances of Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux, as well as the Bond history it wraps itself in, elevate it beyond that.

It’s not Craig’s best Bond film, as Skyfall is almost untouchable in my opinion, but it does bring closure to his tenure in the tuxedo in a manner that should please Bond fans across the board. It also tantalises us as to what the 6th age of Bond will look like. Let the intense speculation begin!


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10


Thank you for reading our review of James Bond No Time To Die. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out who we think could be the next James Bond and why HERE.

Read IMDB information about No Time To Die HERE.

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