Like any movie, animated movies can’t only rely on amazing visuals, good music, and great sound effects. You also need to find a good cast. Finding a good voice actor is as important as any other casting choice.
While you can choose anyone, regardless of their actual appearance to portray the character, their voice is still going to be a defining part of that character. Sometimes, however, voice actors are not only perfectly cast for their vocal talents, but they even look like their characters.
Eleanor Audley is a voice which at some point has haunted the minds of every child. While you might not recognize her name, Eleanor Audley is best known for portraying two of the most famous Disney villains of all time, Lady Tremaine and Maleficent, in 1950’s Cinderella and 1959’s Sleeping beauty respectively.
What makes Lady Tremaine such a wonderful villain is the fact that she always remains calm and collected. She doesn’t need to roar or scream to manipulate those around her expertly. The original animators, Frank Thomas and Marc Davis, admitted that they tried to make her expressions look like Audley.
No, you aren’t looking at an ancient photo of a cosplayer. The girl is 10-year-old Kathryn Beaumont who was not only chosen to be the voice of young Alice in 1951’s Alice in Wonderland (as well as Wendy in 1953’s Peter Pan), but she was also used as a performance model.
During an interview, she admitted that she was chosen because of her voice which “would be English enough to satisfy British audiences, but not so English that it would put off American audiences.”
Danny DeVito is well known for his many memorable roles, films, and even films he may have directed or produced. One of the most famous characters he has voiced is undoubtedly the reluctant hero trainer, Philoctetes, in Disney’s Hercules (1197).
When talking about the role of ‘Phil’ he once stated: “I remember that being a great experience. And also a big thing is that … what’s fun is when you’re talking to people and some kid will go [makes a quizzical face]or say, “I recognize your voice from …” I say, “What?” And they say, “Hercules,” and that’s really fun. I’ve done a couple of voices.”
A somewhat underrated gem in the Disney crown has to be 2000’s The Emperor’s New Groove. While most people who watched the movie might not have recognized the voice of villain Yzma, but older generations might remember her as 1967’s Catwoman in the Batman TV series with Adam West. She was also a singer, actress, dancer, comedian, author, and songwriter.
Yzma is a much-loved character though, despite being an evil, scheming character. Similar to Lady Tremaine, Yzma is also charismatic and wants to be empress even though she already has a very cushy advisor job. However, looking at Eartha and Yzma side by side you can’t deny the similarities.
Sometimes animators take not only physical characteristics from the voice actors but even their personalities. To younger viewers, Jessica Walter might be best known as Lucille Bluth from the TV show Arrested Development. She is also the voice and inspiration behind Malory Archer in the animated show Archer.
Even a casual viewer will be unable to deny the similarities between Lucille and Malory. Not only do both of them always have a drink in hand but they have the same bitter, acerbic, and abrasive personalities. And if you look at Malory it is clear that Walter is the inspiration for those too.
Everyone knows that Kevin played the voice of Principal Lewis on American Dad. However, many don’t realize that he also played Ted Fiedler, Tank Bates, Captain Monty, and several other characters on American dad as well as voicing characters in various shows and video games.
One of the roles that might surprise you is that he even played the Joker in one of the animated Batman TV series. However, no one can deny that despite being an alien, Captain Gantu from Lilo and Stitch is Kevin through and through.
Well-known for her numerous cantankerous characters such as Sue Sylvester, the cheerleading coach from the show Glee, Jane Lynch has always been a fan favorite. Her role as Calhoun in Wreck-It Ralph was no exception, and its hard to deny that she and her character look alike.
She thinks it’s great for girls to have a character like Calhoun to look up to. “Her authority is unquestioned—she’s definitely in charge. She also has a heart. She has a soft side, tenderness and vulnerability, which shows that you don’t have to shut that part off if you are a woman in a leadership position. It’s inspirational for girls to see that women can attain these positions of authority”, Lynch said.
Anika Noni Rose is a Tony Award-winning actress known for roles in Broadway productions of Caroline, or Change as well as her leading role in the film Dreamgirls (2006). She also voiced Tiana from 2009’s The Princess and the Frog.
Being the first African-American Disney princess, Tiana is considered one of the most inspiring characters. Tiana is not only being hardworking but highly driven. She dreams of starting her own business rather than marrying a prince.
The television legend Ed Asner provided the voice and most of the physical inspiration for the cartoon Carl Fredricksen, the fictional lead character of Disney and Pixar’s Up (2009). But you have to admit that there is also some substantial resemblance between all grumpy old white men.
Asner has achieved brilliant performances in many successful films, but Up! will always be remembered as one of his greatest works. Through the character of Carl, this movie teaches you to always fight for your dreams and that it’s never too late to fulfill your life goals. It’s impossible not to feel identified with Carl, right?
Have you ever seen So Dear to My Heart (1948), Treasure Island (1950), or Song of the South (1946)? Well, I wasn’t even born back then and I haven’t seen any of these three movies, but I’m definitely familiar with the actor who starred in them, Bobby Driscoll. He actually became famous as the voice of Peter Pan (1953), and also modeled as a reference for this hit movie.
I’m pretty sure all of you agree that he was perfect for the role of Peter Pan, as they look very much alike. The child actor’s slim, athletic physique naturally caught people’s attention. He had beautiful and nearly orange hair and cheeks full of freckles, just like the Disney cartoon. Peter Pan even has Driscoll’s same slightly upturned nose!
You probably know Steve Buscemi for its unusual characters. His career spans four decades during which he has acted in more than 100 films and television series in both comic and dramatic roles. He has also participated in several independent and commercial films and has received Golden Globe, SAG, Emmy, and Independent Spirit awards. Do you have an idea about which animated character he voiced?
Buscemi voiced Mr. Wesley, the antagonist of the Disney film Home on the Range (2004). But if you think about it, Mr. Wesley looks just like Nucky Thompson, Buscemi’s character in the HBO hit Boardwalk Empire. Look at the photo above, and you’ll realize that they even wear the exact same jacket! It appears that someone was taking notes!
As all Disney fans must know, the actor who brought the Genie to life in the 1992 film Aladdin was the mythical actor Robin Williams. Obviously, they’re not physically identical… after all, the Genie does have inhumanely blue skin and incredibly large and pointy years.
However, if you think twice, you can’t deny that the Disney animators captured Williams’ sense of humor, mannerisms and facial expressions when creating this iconic cartoon. In the end, Williams’s performance was so brilliant that he paved the way for other animated films to incorporate A-list actors.
With an astonishing range of roles already under his belt, John C. Reilly caused a buzz with one of his latest films, Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018), which is the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph (2012). As you can tell by the picture, Reilly voiced the lead character Ralph – the gigantic but soft-hearted man next to him.
If you look at them at the same time, it’s easy to appreciate the resemblance. I’m pretty sure that the animators studied Reilly’s performances and watched him in some of the recording sessions before designing the cartoon because they both share similar facial expressions and mannerisms.
Just look at this fish’s matching toothy grin and you’ll see some Oscar in him! I have to admit that this underwater creature made me laughed my head off when I watched Shark Tale (2004). Will Smith lent his voice to this small and unfortunate striped fish, and let me tell you that is not all… because his dance moves are a legacy!
I’m pretty sure you’re aware that the film includes the voices of top-level artists such as Jack Black, Renée Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese, and Robert De Niro. But this fish is the only one that looks like his voice actor!
You probably know Aisha Tyler for her role as Dr. Charlie Wheeler, a paleontology professor who dated Ross in the iconic sitcom Friends. She also played Andrea Marino in the first season of Ghost Whisperer and Dr. Tara Lewis in Criminal Minds. More recently, she had recurring roles on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Talk Soup.
But did any of you notice that she is the actor who voiced Lana Kane, the lead female character on the TV cartoon series Archer? Well, look twice, because their resemblance is undeniable! It seems that all the characters in this animated series were designed based on the physique of their voice actors since we’ve also seen the case of Jessica Walter!
Irene Bedard is an American actress who provided the voice for Pocahontas, the leading character of the Disney movie with the same name. Actually, this was not the only time in which Bedard played a Native American character, as she is best known for the role of Suzy Song in the film adaptation of Sherman Alexie’s novel, Smoke Signals (1998).
Bedard is an Alaskan Native of Inupiat and Yupik descent, and Pocahontas is literally her animated embodiment. They have the same narrow eyes, thin eyebrows, and gorgeous, long black hair. I’m pretty sure that some of you still sing Colors in the Wind in the shower, am I right?
Zachary Levi is an American actor and singer, who voiced Flynn Rider in the animated film Tangled (2010). The world was fascinated by his interpretation of the song I See the Light with Mandy Moore, which won a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media. He voiced the same character one more time in the short film Tangled Ever After (2012).
Flynn is a good-looking, sweet and vulnerable burglar, who loves making jokes full of sarcasm. If you look closely, those deep brown eyes, well-defined eyebrows, well-roasted complexion, and refined mouth are all Levi! Real-life voice actor and cartoon are both incredibly handsome!
Christopher Plummer is one of Hollywood’s greatest legends. With more than a hundred titles behind him, both on television and in cinema, he has always been a very versatile actor and has played very different styles of characters.
On top of this, he voiced his villainous alter-ego, inventor Charles Muntz, in Pixar’s aforementioned animated movie Up! (2009). Take a look at the picture above… don’t they have the same gleeful expression and the same wide and big nose?
During the production of The Lion King (1994), John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, and Patrick Stewart were all considered for the role of Mufasa’s and later Simba’s majordomo, Zazu. However, after watching several episodes of Mr. Bean, the animators decided to give this role to Atkinson.
Atkinson makes the funniest faces and the most expressive gestures. One of his most notable features are his eyebrows… and if you look twice, Zazu’s eyebrows look just the same! Zazu’s supervising animator, Ellen Woodbury, admitted that they drew major inspiration from Atkinson’s mannerisms and comic expressions. For some unknown reason, Atkinson didn’t return to voice Zazu in the latter two films.
Ming-Na Wen is an American actress who provided the voice for the lead character in the Disney animated film Mulan (1998), in its direct-to-video sequel Mulan II (2004), and in the video game Kingdom Hearts II.
On the left is Wen, the voice actor of Mulan. Isn’t the resemblance uncanny? On the right, we see Chinese actress Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, who will be playing the role of Mulan in the live-action adaptation of this animated film.