'Lady and the Tramp': Meet the Voices Behind Each Animated Performer

1:52 PM 10/22/2019

by Lily Rosenberg

The retelling of the 1955 animated classic, featuring a star-studded cast, premieres Nov. 12 on Disney+.

Sixty-four years after Disney's animated Lady and the Tramp was released, the same story is being told for new streaming service Disney+ — but now the movie features real rescue dogs and cocker spaniels. The classic tale comes from a 1945 Cosmopolitan magazine story titled "Happy Dan, the Cynical Dog," by Ward Greene, with the film adaptation coming 10 years later, written by Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Ralph Wright and Don DaGradi. With the story changing throughout the production process, one of the film's most recognizable scenes — in which the titular canine duo share spaghetti — was almost cut by Walt Disney himself, thinking dogs eating pasta could look silly, but animator director Frank Thomas created a rough version that changed his decision.

The new film includes the classic scene and others with a cast of voices for all of the dogs, plus human stars as well, with Kiersey Clemons playing Darling and Thomas Mann as Jim Dear. Charlie Beam, the director of The Lego Ninjago Movie, directs the live action, with the screenplay by Andrew Bujalski. This reboot of the 1955 classic comes after Disney’s box office success remaking animated films this summer with Aladdin and The Lion King.

Unlike those previous remakes Lady and the Tramp will be released only on Disney’s new streaming services, Disney+, on Nov. 12, which also is the launch date for the streamer for the United States. The new services will include the option for a bundled package of Disney+, ESPN + and Hulu, and will include content from Disney, Marvel, Pixar, National Geographic and 21st Century Fox.

See who voices the dogs in the new movie, below.

  • Tessa Thompson


    K. C. Bailey/Disney Enterprises; Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

    Tessa Thompson, who voices the upscale cocker spaniel, has been busy appearing in various TV series and movies. She co-stars on HBO’s Westworld, with its third season coming out in 2020, and was on the big screen last year in Creed II. Thompson also has appeared in the Avengers films and in Men in Black: International, opposite her Thor: Ragnarok co-star Chris Hemsworth.

    Her upcoming projects include Sylvie, coming out in 2020, and the fourth installment of the Thor franchise, which is scheduled to begin shooting in Australia next year, with Taika Waititi directing.

  • Justin Theroux


    K. C. Bailey/Disney Enterprises; Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic

    Justin Theroux voices the streetwise mutt who tries to win over pampered cocker spaniel Lady after she ends up on the street once her owners have a baby. The mutt the film used, named Monte, is actually a rescue dog who was saved from a kill shelter in New Mexico before he was adopted by the film's animal trainer, Mark Forbes. Theroux, who is an advocate for rescue animals, is a rescue parent himself to a pup named Kuma.

    Other than voicing dogs, Theroux first claimed fame for his role in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. Recently, Theroux was in the Emmy-winning variety special Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons, in the Netflix miniseries Maniac with Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, and in Star Wars: Last Jedi. Theroux’s upcoming project is horror pic False Positive, directed by John Lee and co-starring Pierce Brosnan, Sophia Bush and Ilana Glazer.

  • Sam Elliott


    K. C. Bailey/Disney Enterprises; Paul Morigi/Getty Images

    The actor voices bloodhound Trusty, the neighbor of Lady, in the live-action remake. Elliott has past experience doing voiceover work in Pixar’s 2015 film The Good Dinosaur.

    After being onscreen for more than 50 years, Elliott received an Oscar nomination last year for his performance in A Star Is Born alongside Lady Gaga and co-star/director Bradley Cooper. The Emmy and Golden Globe nominee has also been starring opposite Ashton Kutcher in their Netflix original series The Ranch and recurred with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda on Grace and Frankie.

  • Ashley Jensen


    K. C. Bailey/Disney Enterprises; Karwai Tang/WireImage

    Scottish actress Ashley Jensen plays the Scottish terrier Jock, who is one of Lady’s neighbors and friends in the film. Familiar with voiceover acting, Jensen has been the voice in several animated films, including How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Sherlock Gnomes and Gnomeo & Juliet.

    Other than voiceovers, the actress has appeared in the television comedy Extras with Ricky Gervais and in the Emmy-winning show Ugly Betty. More recently, Jensen has appeared in the Emmy-nominated Amazon original series Catastrophe and in Netflix’s After Life, where she reunited with Gervais. She also was in the Oscar-nominated film The Lobster with Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz.

  • Benedict Wong


    K. C. Bailey/Disney Enterprises; Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

    Most recognized from his role in Marvel’s Doctor Strange as Wong, along with the two most recent Avenger films, Benedict Wong voices Tramp’s bulldog buddy in the live-action remake.

    He also is in the film The Personal History of David Copperfield, which premiered at the Toronto film festival in September, in which he appears alongside Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton and Hugh Laurie, and is on the big screen in Gemini Man, with Will Smith, which hit theaters Oct. 11. Wong also is currently voicing the role of The General in Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, starring the voices of Taron Egerton, Mark Hamill and Anya Taylor-Joy.

  • Janelle Monáe


    K. C. Bailey/Disney Enterprises; Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

    The singer-actress voices Peg in the new film. Janelle Monáe got her big break in 2016 with acclaimed performances in Moonlight and Hidden Figures. She was honored alongside the ensemble cast of Moonlight with a Film Independent Spirit Award and a Gotham Award and was nominated for the SAG Award for best ensemble for both movies, winning for Hidden Figures. She also won best breakout performance for both movies from the African-American Film Critics Association.

    In addition to guest-starring on HBO's Homecoming and voicing a role in UglyDolls, she continues to release music. Earlier this year, her album Dirty Computer was nominated for a Grammy for album of the year. She next hits the big screen in the Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet opposite Cynthia Erivo.