Disney is such a phenomenally huge media conglomerate that it essentially has the pick of actors when it comes to casting them in its movies. Whether it be a live action movie, an animated movie, or a hybrid movie featuring a little bit of both, you’ll have seen or heard some of the biggest stars of all time portraying or voicing Disney characters.
Most of the time, a big deal is made of it and you can’t help but know which actor was playing a particular Disney character – everyone knows that Tom Hanks is Woody in the Toy Story movies and spin-off specials, and that Robin Williams voiced the Genie in two Aladdin movies, for example – but that’s not always the case.
Some big actors’ roles in Disney movies actually go under the radar – and that’s what this video is all about. Here are ten famous actors you didn’t know were in Disney movies.
Miley Cyrus in Bolt
It’s easy forget, given how things have turned out, but long before she was the psycho pop bitch from hell, Miley Cyrus was an innocent and promising young child actress. Having starred as Hannah Montana in the popular Disney Channel show of the same name, the acting world was her oyster – but did you know she’d also appeared in a non-Hannah Montana Disney movie?
Billie Ray’s little girl voiced Penny – the youngster who adopted the titular canine in 2008’s Bolt – a movie in which she worked alongside Hollywood legends like John Travolta (who voiced the titular character) and Malcolm McDowell.
Elijah Wood in The Adventures of Huck Finn
Long before he portrayed the iconic role of Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Elijah Wood was a child star who made his movie debut as “Video-Game Boy #2” in 1989’s Back to the Future Part II. Four years later, when he was still in his pre-teen years, he appeared as the lead in a little-known Disney movie.
It was 1993’s The Adventures of Huck Finn, in which Wood played the titular Finn – the star of Mark Twain’s legendary novel. Incidentally, the movie also featured prominent roles for the likes of Robbie Coltrane and Ron Perlman, whom you also may not know were in Disney movies!
Matthew Broderick in The Lion King
When you think of Simba from 1994’s The Lion King, you generally tend to think about the young incarnation of the character – who was voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas – and it’s easy to forget that Ferris Bueller himself, Matthew Broderick, voiced him as an adult.
Another reason that it’s very easy to forget that fact is because the two sequels in which Simba was an adult for a larger portion of the movies – The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride and The Lion King 1½ – were both far less popular offerings that went straight-to-video upon their respective releases in 1998 and 2004.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Treasure Planet
Most people know that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a child actor and will likely remember some of his earlier roles in movies like A River Runs Through It, Angels in the Outfield and 10 Things I Hate About You, but he’s more well-known for his more recent career and his roles in movies like Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and Lincoln – but he had a lead role in a Disney flop back in 2002 as well.
It was Treasure Planet – a mediocre sci-fi adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventure novel Treasure Island – and he voiced Jim Hawkins; the protagonistic teenager who pined for adventure. You learn something new every day!
Christian Bale in Pocahontas
Christian Bale is now mainly known for his dark and serious roles, such as Batman in the Dark Knight Trilogy, Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, John Connor in Terminator Salvation, and Trevor Reznik in The Machinist, but back before he was a household name, he had a supporting voice role in a modern Disney classic.
The movie in question was 1995’s Pocahontas, and a young Bale performed alongside seasoned performers like Mel Gibson and Billy Connolly. He played the part of Thomas – a soldier and the loyal friend of the aforementioned Gibson’s John Smith.