Voice Actors Who Look Similar To The Animated Characters They Play
The actors who participate in animated movies get to explore another side of their craft: the many dimensions of their voices! In return, they get to see a little bit of themselves wind up on the big screen in the characters they play.
Yep, while sometimes the people behind your favorite animated characters look nothing like the part they are voicing, there are some voice actors who could be confused for the twin of the character they play! Below we’ve listed some of the best voice actors and their character doppelgängers…
1. Eleanor Audley and Lady Tremaine (Cinderella): If you’ve seen the Disney classic Cinderella, then you probably know Lady Tremaine by her other name… the Wicked Stepmother! Eleanor Audley voiced the stepmother, and she served as a model for the animators.
Disney said she was drawn “with a sinister and lifelike subtlety that contrasted with the broader treatment given to many of the other characters.” There’s no denying that it certainly worked!
2. Kathryn Beaumont and Alice (Alice in Wonderland): Kathryn Beaumont did so much more than just voice the role of Alice — she played the role in real life, too!
Beaumont served as a life model, performing opposite objects that were not even there so that the animators could better capture her reactions. The end result was something truly special.
3. Danny DeVito and Philoctetes (Hercules): Danny DeVito is a beloved character actor, known for bringing passion, energy, and verve to every single role he chooses. So it’s no wonder that when it came time to cast a surly satyr there was just one option…
Disney knocked on Danny DeVito’s door! The resemblance between the angry satyr and the fun-loving, wise-cracking actor who plays him is undeniable.
4. Eartha Kitt and Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove): In addition to basing their character’s design on the voice actor playing the role, the animators will often have other sources they refer to in creating the perfect character.
Chief animator, Harald Siepermann, said that Yzma was based in part on real-life photos of Eartha Kitt, though he added that the team of animators also based the character on Peruvian singer Yma Sumac.
5. Jessica Walter and Malory Archer (Archer): Believe it or not, while Jessica Walter might look exactly like the character she plays of FX’s Archer, she was not actually the inspiration for the design of the character.
Producers considered Walter “something akin to acting royalty” and didn’t want to “abuse her time” with the necessary photo shoot. So instead they hired another actress to sit for the design reference images.
6. Kevin Michael Richardson and Principal Lewis (American Dad): It’s a real challenge to not see Kevin Michael Richardson when you look at his character on American Dad.
It almost seems as if the animators had a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when it came to Richardson’s character design. Principal Lewis is just an alternative take on Richardson himself.
7. Jane Lynch and Sergeant Calhoun (Wreck-It Ralph): From the bright blue eyes to the cropped blonde hair, these two are as good as twins. Lynch says all the Wreck-It Ralph characters “started to look more and more like us because they videotaped us while we recorded our lines.”
There was no detail so small that the animators didn’t use it to make Calhoun look as much like Lynch. “Sergeant Calhoun moves her mouth in a certain way, which is exactly how I talk,” said Lynch.
8. Anika Noni Rose and Princess Tiana (The Princess and the Frog): The animators paid close to attention to be sure that Anika and Princess Tiana looked as close to identical as possible.
But the animators did not stop at a physical resemblance; they even made sure that Tiana was left-handed like Anika! Talk about attention to detail.
9. Ed Asner and Carl Fredricksen (Up): Ed Asner and the grumpy 78-year-old protagonist in Up could be related if it weren’t for the whole “one of them is actually just a series of drawings” thing.
Animators actually based Carl’s character design on two well-known Hollywood stars of the gilded age: Spencer Tracy and Walter Matthau. But don’t tell Asner that!
10. Bobby Driscoll and Peter Pan (Peter Pan): While it’s not uncommon to have voice actors pose as models for the characters they are playing in animated features, the team behind Peter Pan went even further.
The filmmakers shot a live-action reference version of the film to help make sure they got every last detail just right! The careful attention to detail shows.
11. Steve Buscemi and Wesley (Home on the Range): Were the animators big fans of Buscemi’s HBO hit Boardwalk Empire? Because from the looks of these two photos, it appears that someone was taking notes!
The resemblance between Steve Buscemi and the evil cattle wrangler he plays in this flick is already uncanny, but when you look at Buscemi in his costume for Boardwalk Empire, it’s almost like seeing double.
12. Robin Williams and Genie (Aladdin): The animators made no bones about it: the Genie was absolutely designed to look a lot like the man who played him, Robin Williams!
In fact, when they were trying to convince Williams to voice the part, they animated some of his old stand-up to be performed by the Genie. How could he say no?
13. John C. Reilly and Wreck-It Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph): While these two might only share a passing resemblance, the real similarity between them is subtle. The animators on Wreck-It Ralph took building their characters seriously.
They recorded countless sessions of their actors in motion capture suits to incorporate their mannerisms into the finished result once it was time to build the characters themselves. John C. Reilly recognized a lot of his own gestures in Ralph!
14. Will Smith and Oscar (Shark Tale): You wouldn’t think that a fish could ever look like actor Will Smith, but the folks behind Shark Tale made it happen! You can’t deny the similarities. Will was far from being the only A-lister in Shark Tale whose fish got the celebrity treatment.
Stars like Renée Zellweger and Martin Scorsese also appeared in the film and had fishy versions of themselves up on the big screen. That’s one way of capitalizing on your star power!
15. Aisha Tyler and Lana Kane (Archer): While the character of Lana Kane might look a heck of a lot like voice actress and comedienne Aisha Tyler, the truth is that Tyler wasn’t able to fly to Georgia to get the photographs they needed.
What to do? Instead, they wound up hiring Kynyetta Lester, a waitress at an Atlanta Hooters, for the character modeling. She could have been Tyler’s double!
16. Irene Bedard and Pocahontas (Pocahontas): There’s no denying Irene Bedard looks a heck of a lot like the Native American princess she plays in Pocahontas. She was actually just one of many other inspirations that artists used to create the character.
They also drew inspiration from Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and even a college student who was paid just $200 for her time. Wonder if that college student went on to model…
17. Zachary Levi and Flynn Rider (Tangled): Animators confirmed that Zachary Levi wasn’t the only inspiration they used when designing the character of Flynn Rider.
Believe it or not, they also “borrowed” the faces of Clark Cable and soccer star David Beckham! Who knew that so many different icons went into designing Rapunzel’s mane (get it?) man?
18. Christopher Plummer and Charles Muntz (Up). While Christopher Plummer might be considered Hollywood royalty, it is impossible not to see his villainous Up alter-ego looking back at you.
Pixar animators say they wanted Charles Muntz to look like “a warm, loving grandfather who could become sinister at the drop of a hat.” It also happens to be something the voice actor and screen legend is pretty masterful at accomplishing in real-life!
19. Rowan Atkinson and Zazu (The Lion King): Bet you never thought you would see the day that someone could compare Mr. Bean to a bird and have you nodding your head in agreement!
Zazu’s supervising animator, Ellen Woodbury, says Rowan’s voice was “incredibly rich” and “listening to his readings gave me so much to work with.” His voice wasn’t the only thing she found compelling about him. Check out those ‘brows!
20. Ming-Na Wen and Mulan (Mulan): Ming-Na Wen said that while she and the finished version of Mulan might not look 100% alike, several of her own gestures made it into the final cut.