With so many Disney remakes out and about in the world and loosed upon Hollywood cinema, there is one Disney film that truly needs to be seen and witnessed on the big screen. That film, in particular, is The Princess and the Frog.
The movie saw a hard-working and determined young African American woman named Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) who works night and day to save up enough money to open her dream restaurant. Later, she comes across a prince named Naveen (Bruno Campos) who gets transformed into a frog by the Shadow Man/Dr. Facilier (Keith David) with an evil plot to garner power in New Orleans.
The film was released in 2009 and much of the Disney fanbase has not said much about it. A live-action remake has yet to be greenlit by the studio. However, that conversation needs to be brought up and thoroughly discussed.
Here is why Disney needs to start development on a live-action Princess and the Frog film.
Like with all things, if the cast doesn't work, chances are that the movie won’t work. The perfect cast, if chosen correctly, could make this film perfect. The dream casting could possibly come to Keke Palmer as Tiana. She would make the obvious choice since she has a background in singing—she played Cinderella in her Broadway debut. The actress has a certain tenacity and jovial spirit that the movie needs to keep its fanbase on its side.
Mahershala Ali would be a magical Shadow Man whose devious persona and slender frame are iconic. Ali doesn't usually play the villain but seeing him in a baddie’s role may be a sight to see as the film unfolds. This would be something new for him as he would have to really stretch his acting muscles, but that shouldn’t be such a problem for an actor of his caliber.
The best reason for a remake to be made of this new animated classic would be the celebration of African American culture. Unlike other Disney movies, it drenches itself in reality with a more contemporary setting, place, and tone. New Orleans is the setting and you won’t find any dragons or castles in this fairytale. This is 1926 Jim Crow South rife with bigotry, classism, and racism.
The remake could go further into Tiana’s struggles with racism as a Black woman in the South while also addressing the classism between she and Naveen. Obviously, the original 2009 film was cleaned up for children, but going darker and accepting the realities of Jim Crow South could be beneficial for its success by exploring the nuances of Tiana's experience as a Black woman during this time. This approach to a reboot could be a step forward in progressivism for Disney.
Hopefully, if fans play their cards right, we may finally get The Princess and the Frog remake that people deserve.