Lilo & Stitch is one of the most recent Disney films to get the live-action treatment, and it was recently announced that Jon M. Chu is in talks to direct the upcoming feature. The 2002 animated film centers on the adventures of a 6-year-old Hawaiian girl named Lilo and her older sister Nani, who adopt a blue alien named Stitch that has escaped from his home planet. Together, they fight to keep their little family intact, despite the obstacles presented by a strict social worker and other extraterrestrials seeking to recapture the runaway alien. The original Lilo & Stitch garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature and offers rich source material for the upcoming adaptation. But with no actors yet attached, we’re here to give you our dream cast for the live-action Lilo & Stitch.
Lilo — Siena Agudong
The young actor may be past the age of the original character, but as a minor, she would still fit into the storyline that involves Nani fighting to be Lilo’s guardian after the sisters lose their parents. And aging up the character so that Agudong can bring the role to life would be well worth the adjustment. The budding star is known for her work on series like Netflix’s No Good Nick and Nickelodeon’s Star Falls, which respectively demonstrated her impressive emotional range and comedic timing. Both capabilities are necessary to play the character of Lilo, and since Agudong recently starred in the Disney Channel movie Upside-Down Magic, she’s also no stranger to working with larger-than-life material. The young actor displays in her various roles an endearing mixture of sweet and spunky qualities that make her the perfect fit to play Lilo, so it may come as no surprise that rumors have already begun connecting Agudong to the upcoming film.
Stitch — Jason Momoa
It may seem like an against-type casting to have Momoa voice Stitch in the upcoming adaptation, but the choice has many merits. For example, despite his small size, the blue alien encapsulates a certain degree of ferocity. Stitch eventually softens once he discovers the meaning of “ohana” and the love of his newfound family, but one New York Times review describes the initial character as “a connoisseur of chaos.” Such a role would likely come easily for the actor known by many as Khal Drogo. Plus, Momoa happens to have a great Fozzie Bear impression that bodes well for the actor’s ability to capture the unique voice quality of Stitch. And we think that the Aquaman star could easily handle the physicality of any motion-capture work needed to bring the extraterrestrial to life on the big screen.
Nani — Auli’i Cravalho
Cravalho is very familiar with Disney projects, considering her breakout role voicing the titular character in Moana. And she’s since moved into live-action work, with roles such as Ariel in The Little Mermaid Live! and Amber Appleton in the recent Netflix drama All Together Now. At 20 years of age, Cravalho would be a good fit for the character of an older sister trying to hold things together and take care of her younger sibling. Plus, between her previous Disney roles and portraying Lilette Suarez in the NBC drama series Rise, the actor has proven her musical talent. We’re hoping that the upcoming Lilo & Stitch adaptation incorporates some version of “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” in its new soundtrack, and Cravalho could provide some serious pipes for it.
Agudong, Momoa, and Cravalho are just our picks for the members of the central “ohana” in Lilo & Stitch. You can also anticipate which actors will bring to life such characters as the alien scientist Jumba, his sidekick Pleakley, and the imposing social worker Cobra Bubbles, whether it be via voice or on-camera acting. The original animated feature received a glowing review from esteemed film critic Roger Ebert, who called the film “a jewel.” In the capable hands of the Crazy Rich Asians director, the upcoming live-action adaptation may also meet with much critical success, especially if it comes with a dream cast list for the lead roles.