There's no denying that becoming a Disney character is a dream voiceover role for actors of all ages. Voicing a classic Disney character means being immortalized as the character in the movies, video games, and even toys. So, seriously, what actor would not want that job? However, things don't always seem to go as planned. Whether it's an issue with production, changing casting views, or even the actor dropping out of an iconic role on his or her own merit, tons of mishaps can happen and skew it all up. In fact, there were actually numerous times where Disney characters were almost voiced by other people before they were re-casted.
Because, unlike the casting process for on-camera roles, how an actor looks isn't usually a part of the process. And, while many famous actors and actresses have been re-imagined as their Disney lookalikes, that doesn't necessarily mean they would have been chosen to voice that character if they auditioned! Oh, the beauty of blind-casting. However, all looks and preferences aside, some actors still manage to get locked in to a Disney voiceover role... only for it to unexpectedly slip right through their fingers. Seriously, it's hard to believe any of these actors even lost a role a day in their life.
1. Joe Pesci — Mushu in Mulan
It's hard to think about Mushu and not automatically hear Eddie Murphy's voice in your head. However, Joe Pesci was the original man for the job. After trying to split Mushu into two characters — with Joe Pesci voicing one alongside Richard Dreyfuss voicing the other — Disney eventually scrapped Pesci from the character all together.
2. Patrick Stewart — Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast
Why does this original casting choice not surprise me at all? It's just too perfect! Unfortunately, Patrick Stewart had to back out due to filming conflicts with his next project: Star Trek: The Next Generation. Therefore, David Ogden Stiers landed the role instead.
3. Owen Wilson — Pacha in The Emperor's New Groove
When you think of Pacha, you immediately start to hear John Goodman's voice in your head. However, the role of Pacha originally went to Owen Wilson. While I do hear the similarities in their voices, I'm happy with the way the final casting went.
4. Michael J. Fox — Aladdin in Aladdin
This one just blows my mind, but Aladdin was first drawn to look like Michael J. Fox. Seriously. However, Disney decided to go in a different direction by casting Scott Weinger as the voice and altering their drawing to look more like Tom Cruise.
5. Jack Nicholson — Hades in Hercules
Jack Nicholson as Hades would have totally worked, because the role was originally written for him. Hercules creator John Musker even got Nicholson to discuss the role with them. That is, until the deal fell apart, and Hades ended up being voiced by James Woods instead.
6. Reese Witherspoon — Rapunzel in Tangled, Merida in Brave
Reese Witherspoon was originally locked down as the voice of red-headed Merida in Brave before Kelly Macdonald was signed on. And that wasn't the first time that's happened. She was also the original choice for the role of Rapunzel, and Tangled 's Executive Producer. However, that one also ended up falling through, with the role going to Mandy Moore instead.
7. Kristin Chenoweth — Rapunzel in Tangled
In 2004, what we now refer to as Tangled was originally called Rapunzel Unbraided. And before Reese Witherspoon was even in the running, Kristen Chenoweth seemingly had this character in the bag. However, as you might have guessed, Disney went in a completely opposite direction.
8. Jim Carrey — Bowler Hat Guy in Meet The Robinsons
Did the Bowler Hat Guy in Meet The Robinsons seem kind of familiar to you? If he did, it's because Jim Carrey was the main muse for how the character would be portrayed. However, after having to choose between this character and the role of Walter Sparrow in the 2007 film The Number 23, the actor missed his chance. Instead, the film's director, Stephen J. Anderson, voiced the Disney character.
9. William H. Macy — Marlin in Finding Nemo
William H. Macy wasn't just cast as Marlin, but also already recorded all of his voices and even made it as the voice in one of the first cuts of the film. However, after receiving poor reviews from Disney's first film watchers, they had Albert Brooks do the voiceovers instead.
10. Nathan Lane — Hyena in The Lion King
You probably know Nathan Lane as the voice of Timon in The Lion King. But would you believe he almost voiced of one of the Hyenas instead? Lane and Ernie Sabella were in the running before being re-cast as Timon and Pumbaa instead. The voices of the Hyenas ended up going to Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin.
11. Elaine Stritch — Ursula in The Little Mermaid
Yes, that almost happened. And it sounds like an incredible idea. However, like all fallen projects and opportunities, creative differences tend to get in the way. Elaine Stritch was out, and Pat Carroll was in.
12. Lucas Neff — Arlo in The Good Dinosaur
Disney's latest Pixar creation actually ended up having quite the script change. There was a full cast overhaul as a result, and the lead role of Arlo the Dinosaur ended up being taken from Neff. Other actors who were originally supposed to be cast in the film (for unknown roles) include Neil Patrick Harris, John Lithgow, Bill Hader, and Judy Greer.
No matter what the reason these actors and actresses didn't ended up providing the final voices in these beloved films, the films were still amazing. And, honestly, I can't imagine them any other way.
Images: Walt Disney Pictures