Disney Has Reportedly Found Its Rapunzel for the ‘Tangled’ Remake

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Rapunzel with Florence Pugh over the top

Credit: Inside the Magic

We only received word that Disney is producing a live-action remake of Tangled (2010) last week, but rumor has it that the studio has already set its sights on one actress for the leading role.

One of Disney’s most successful (and most expensive) animations of all time, Tangled is inspired by the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale of Rapunzel. Walt Disney Animation Studios took plenty of creative liberties with the source material, but the core story is the same, focusing on a princess with impossibly long hair who lives in a tower.

Rapunzel uses her hair to escape her tower
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Is Officially Planning a ‘Tangled’ Musical

Disney’s animated movie doesn’t so much have Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) rescued from said tower by a prince. Instead, Rapunzel recruits the thief Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) to take her to see the “floating lights” that appear on her birthday each year – which, unbeknownst to her, are actually released by her real parents in hopes of finding the lost princess kidnapped by Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy).

Tangled was a hit with critics and audiences alike at the time of its release. Not only did it take home $592.4 million at the worldwide box office – making it the most successful Disney animated feature film since The Lion King (1994) – but it nailed an 89% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with reviews hailing it as “a visually stunning, thoroughly entertaining addition to the studio’s classic animated canon.”

Maximus the horse (left) getting hugged by Rapunzel (right) from Tangled
Credit: Disney

Of course, when Disney has an animated film that pulls in the big bucks, it does what it does best (or worst): give it a live-action adaptation. The most recent example to get this treatment was The Little Mermaid (2023), which triggered backlash for everything from its casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel to its decision to cut certain lyrics from the classic Alan Menken and Howard Ashman soundtrack to avoid offending contemporary viewers.

Other live-action remakes of classic fairy tales have generated negative reviews in recent years, including Peter Pan & Wendy (2023) and Pinocchio (2022), both of which went directly to Disney+ instead of theaters. The upcoming Snow White (2025) has also sparked controversy, namely due to comments made by the actress taking on the lead role, Rachel Zegler.

Despite a string of flops, it seems like the studio is eyeing up a second outing for Tangled. Reports broke via The Disinsider that a live-action remake is in the works once the SAG-AFTRA strike wraps up – and now they’ve revealed the studio’s first choice for Rapunzel (and no, contrary to satirical reports, it’s not Jada Pinkett Smith).

According to industry insider Daniel RPK, Disney has prioritized Florence Pugh as the frontrunner for the role of Rapunzel. While the film is still in the early stages of development – and the strikes have thrown in additional complications for casting roles right now – rumor has it that Pugh will be their number-one target once casting time rolls around.

Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Florence Pugh Fights Back Against “Pissed Off” Fans

Of course, Pugh isn’t a newcomer to the Walt Disney Company. The British actress currently portrays Yelena Belova, the adopted sister of Black Widow, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She made her MCU debut in Black Widow (2020) and was a recurring character in the Disney+ series Hawkeye. Her next appearance is set to come in Thunderbolts, which is set to premiere in December 2024 (but will likely be pushed back due to the strikes).

Whether or not Disney will manage to secure Pugh for Rapunzel or Tangled is up for debate. However, considering how frequently she’s been fan-cast as the Disney Princess in the past – rivaling other popular choices such as Taylor Swift, Dove Cameron, Amanda Seyfried, and Sabrina Carpenter – we’d be surprised if Disney didn’t give its all to sign her up for the film ASAP.

Flynn Rider having tons of swords pointed at him in Tangled
Credit: Disney

When it comes to the role of Flynn Rider, fans have previously thrown all sorts of names into the ring, including Harry Styles, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland, and Ben Barnes. Disney also apparently wants Baz Luhrmann as the film’s director.

Would you like to see Florence Pugh play Rapunzel in a live-action Tangled remake? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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