Did you know that a lot of the time, when coming up with an idea for a cartoon character, the studio or the creators will try to make it look like a recognizable celebrity? Obviously, they don’t just create a cartoon doppelganger, but they like to choose prominent features — be it their hair, their smile, their facial structure or, in some cases, even their character traits. Sometimes the reason for this is simply because they’re inspired by a certain celebrity, in other cases it’s a thought out strategy to attract the attention of a certain celebrity to their project and have them voice one of the characters. It’s not a secret for anyone that having a famous celebrity on board will help sell any movie, and animated movies are no exception. So let’s look at a list of celebs who gave their cartoon character not only their voice but also their looks.
1. Alyssa Milano – Ariel in The Little Mermaid
Did you know that the little mermaid was created to look like Alyssa Milano? Well, even the actress herself didn’t know at the time. Turns out that the animator who brought Ariel to life used pictures of Alyssa Milano from when she was younger to draw Ariel’s face, pictures from her time on the show “Who’s The Boss” to be more exact. Isn’t it crazy that this was a surprise even for Alyssa Milano?
2. Jeremy Irons – Scar in Lion King
The main villain in Lion King was originally meant to be scary yet elegant, fierce, green eyed and of course British. Have you noticed that in a lot of American films the villains are always British? Jeremy Irons got the role and became the voice of Scar. Once his role was approved, the animation team made some changes in Scar’s appearance, added some features here and there to make the character look more like the actor who was leaning it his voice.
3. Eddie Murphy – Donkey in Shrek
Who doesn’t know Donkey from Shrek. This talkative, funny and entertaining Donkey shares not only Eddie’s awesome sense of humor and friendly demeanor, but also his smile. You’ve got to admit, they really managed to make that Donkey look like Eddie Murphy, which is something Eddie came to joke about quite a few times after the release of the movie.
4. Rihanna – Tip in Home
There’s no doubt that Tip from Home looks and sounds like Rihanna. I mean, Rihanna did lend this character her voice, but those curls look strangely familiar too. However, the similarities don’t end there. Even Rihanna has mentioned that she could relate to Tip and that the cartoon character definitely had some character traits that reminded the singer of herself as a child.
5. Tom Cruise – Aladdin
Even though Aladdin was not voiced by Tom Cruise, you’ve got to admit he looks a bit like him. Well, turns out that the supervising animator of the movie pieced together Aladdin’s looks using contemporary teen idols. Originally, Aladdin was supposed to be based of Michael J. Fox, but in the end they went with Tom Cruise. Aladdin’s famous pants were based of MC Hammer. Who would’ve thought, right?
6. Lucy Liu – Viper in Kung Fu Panda
Lucy Liu always wanted to lend her voice to a cartoon character, most of us do. We grow up on cartoons and animated movies, and there’s always a little part of us that wants to become a part of that world. In Kung Fu Panda Lucy voiced Viper. But we can all see that Viper got not only her voice, but also her cute looks and grace.
7. Johnny Depp – Rango
Rango the chameleon was not only voiced by Johnny Depp, but even his movements were created by Johnny. As you probably already know, Johnny Depp really likes taking on a role and making it his own. The fact that this time his character was animated didn’t stop Johnny Depp from wanting to make the character not only sound, but also look and walk like him. Quite a few fans have commented that Rango bears a slight resemblance to Captain Jack Sparrow. Makes you wonder if that was intentional or was Johnny Depp just getting confused with his multiple characters.
8. Meg Ryan – Anastasia
Anastasia basically looks like Meg Ryan with dark hair, doesn’t she? We all know that the character of Anastasia was voiced by Meg, but turns out it almost didn’t happen. The director and producer of Anastasia has said that Meg Ryan was his first and only choice for the role of Anastasia, but Meg wasn’t so sure she wanted to take on the role. She was so indecisive that in the end the animation team took an audio clip of Meg’s voice from Sleepless in Seattle and created what was essentially a small teaser cartoon based on it. When Meg Ryan saw it, she was blown away and finally agreed to voice Anastasia.
9. Will Smith – Oscar in Shark Tale
Will Smith was very excited when Shark Tale came out. Not only did he voice the main character Oscar, he also sang one of the songs in the movie, specifically – Got To Be Real. Will also shares a couple of similar features with Oscar. Can you guess which ones? His smile, of course, but also his ears. Will Smith very excited that they gave his character very similar ears and kept bringing it up in interviews.