For years now, Disney fans have been wondering what the company’s next live-action adaptation might be. We’ve already seen The Jungle Book, Aladdin, Maleficent, and even The Lion King get remade, but what’s next for the House of Mouse? There’s been an outpouring of fans who want a Tangled remake, and since Rapunzel is one of Disney’s most popular princesses, this does not come as a surprise. In fact, a live-action Tangled could become as iconic as 2015’s Cinderella. Imagine bringing all of that magical hair to life!
While the masses urge Disney to make the film, there’s plenty of time to contemplate who could potentially make up the adaptation’s dream cast. Who has the chops to play the conniving Mother Gothel? What actor has the perfect smolder for Flynn Rider? What about the adorable innocence that Mandy Moore brought to Rapunzel? Which young actress would best be able to balance that with Rapunzel’s sense of adventure?
Moore was the best Rapunzel fans could have asked for; however, seeing as it’s been eleven years since the animated Tangled was released, she’s no longer in the running to play a fresh-faced eighteen-year-old. Because of this, we’ve come up with a new selection of potential Rapunzels based on likeness, fan reactions, and talent, as well as actors to play Flynn Rider and the rest of the cast.
Florence Pugh as Rapunzel
There’s been talk of actress Florence Pugh, known for Black Widow, Little Women, and Midsommar, possibly taking over the role of Rapunzel. Even though the actress is currently 25, characters are often played by actors who are older than them, so this wouldn’t be anything new. Pugh and Rapunzel look similar enough in terms of hair color, freckles, green eyes, and face shape, making Pugh an obvious choice for the role.
The real question is, can she sing? Tangled is a musical, after all, and if this live-action adaptation is anything like Disney’s others, new songs will most likely be added as well as the classics that everyone already knows and loves. Pugh would need the vocal chops to be able to pull the role off. Then again, after seeing how well she did playing Yelena Belova in Black Widow, we’re pretty sure she can do anything.
Meg Donnelly as Rapunzel
Another option for Rapunzel is Meg Donnelly, a young actress known for American Housewife and the Disney Channel Original Movie franchise Zombies. Donnelly and Pugh have similar features as well, most notably their jawlines, which is a feature they also share with Rapunzel. Donnelly is only twenty-one and is an actress and singer, so she has the vocal edge over Pugh.
There’s also something about Donnelly that’s childlike, whereas Pugh has already established herself in adult roles. Perhaps it’s Donnelly’s work with the Disney Channel, but in terms of casting a young Rapunzel, it makes her a great choice.
Jordan Fisher as Flynn Rider
As for everyone’s favorite thief, Flynn Rider, the internet has many different suggestions. There’s been so much chaos and discord over who should play the king of the smolder that there aren’t even any breakthrough options yet. A few comments have begged for Flynn to be played by Jordan Fisher, another established Disney star.
Fisher has been a Disney favorite since his first appearance on Disney Channel’s Liv & Maddie. Afterwards he did the music for the Disney World firework show, “Happily Ever After,” which was a fan-favorite until its recent retirement last month. Fisher is well-versed in acting and singing after both releasing singles and starring in Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen. While he’d make for a younger-looking, less-built version of his animated counterpart, his talent could more than prove why he’d make a great Flynn.
Antonio Cipriano as Flynn Rider
Other options that seem to be floating around the internet for an ideal Flynn Rider are the many Broadway actors known for their dual talents in acting and singing, specifically 21-year-old Antonio Cipriano. Known for his work in Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill, Cipriano would be a fresh face in the movie, which could work for Rider’s character. Seeing as Rider is an orphan and doesn’t know who he is, casting a relative unknown could make the audiences slowly fall in love with the thief just like Rapunzel does throughout the film.
Cipriano came into the spotlight after performing at the Jimmy Awards, a competition for high school students active in musical theatre. He was then cast in Alanis Morissette’s jukebox musical and has performed solo shows at Feinstein’s/54 Below and other New York venues.
Cher as Mother Gothel
After the two main heroes of the movie comes the villain, Mother Gothel, the woman who kidnaps Rapunzel as a baby and kickstarts the movie’s plot. She’s obsessed with staying young via the powers of the sundrop flower, and so Rapunzel’s hair becomes her new lifeline.
As for her casting, everyone’s number-one choice right now seems to be pop superstar Cher. Because of Mother Gothel’s signature big hair, many think Cher is a shoe-in for the role. It’s not a bad casting choice considering that the pop diva recently appeared in the Mamma Mia sequel and has spent her entire career singing and acting. There’s a decent chance that she’d be interested in doing a Disney movie, especially in a role as juicy as Mother Gothel.
Donna Murphy as Mother Gothel
Of course there’s always Donna Murphy, the original voice of Mother Gothel in the animated film, who could theoretically step right back into the role given that we already know how well she can act and sing it. It helps that Murphy is practically Broadway royalty with a long resume of shows that includes Little Shop of Horrors, The King and I, and the recent revival of Hello, Dolly!
As the original voice actress, Murphy would be the perfect choice. She’s the right age for the character and has already proven that her singing chops are beyond what the role requires vocally. But would she want to play the role again? Only time will tell.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as “Patchy” Stabbington
While Mother Gothel is the main villain of Tangled, there are also the secondary villains: Sideburns and Patchy Stabbington, better known as The Stabbington Brothers. They start out as Flynn Rider’s teammates, but after he steals the crown and ditches them, Gothel invites them to help with her plan to get Rapunzel back.
While Dwayne Johnson has already voiced a Disney hero⏤the demigod Maui in Moana⏤he could also pull off a villainous role like a Stabbington. The brothers are big, muscular, and mean, so former or current athletes would be great choices. Johnson is one of the biggest names in Hollywood and already has a great working relationship with Disney having just starred in the summer blockbuster Jungle Cruise alongside Emily Blunt. If there’s a fresh face in other roles, such as Cipriano as Rider, then Johnson could help bring a larger audience to the film.
John Cena as “Sideburns” Stabbington
As for the other Stabbington brother, Sideburns, John Cena would be an amazing choice. Could you imagine the mayhem that would ensue with Johnson and Cena together on the silver screen? The two former wrestlers would thrive in these supporting roles and make them bigger and more memorable than if unknown actors filled them. They’d also be good actors to inevitably sneak in some adult humor for the parents who will inevitably be dragged to the theater and forced to watch. (Let’s be real, parents, you’re going to love the live-action Tangled as much as the kids do.)
Danny Devito as Shorty
Shorty is the always-drunk “ruffian” that wears a diaper and angel wings at The Snuggly Duckling. He flirts with Mother Gothel a bit and ends up divulging Rapunzel’s location to her. There’s really only one man for this particular role, and that’s Danny Devito. Of course, we’re still holding out hope for his involvement in a Hercules live-action, but he can definitely do both!
Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi as Queen Ariana and King Frederic
Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi, AKA the voices of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider in the original Tangled, should undoubtedly play the King and Queen in the live-action movie. They need to be a part of the action somehow, and this is the best way for them to still be involved even though they’re at different stages of their lives than when they originally lent their voices to the film.
As for the rest of the movie’s cast, many are mainly small roles such as the band of ruffians at The Snuggly Duckling, Maximus the palace horse, and of course Rapunzel’s pet chameleon Pascal, the latter of which would be brought to life by voiceover talents.
What do you think of our casting ideas for a live-action Tangled? Do you have others that you think would work better? Let us know in the comments!