- “Aren't you tired of living on the margins?! While all those fat cats in their fancy cars don't give you so much as a sideways glance...”
- ―Facilier to Lawrence
Lawrence is the secondary antagonist of Disney's 2009 animated feature film The Princess and the Frog. He was Prince Naveen's royal valet. After enduring years of disrespect and humiliation from the prince, Lawrence betrayed Naveen and allied himself with the wicked Dr. Facilier to exact vengeance.
Because of his accent and name, Lawrence likely originates from England and was merely hired to become a Royal Valet in Maldonia, rather than being born there. As revealed by Dr. Facilier during "Friends on the Other Side", Lawrence comes from a peasantry background and has spent a majority of his life being pushed around, mostly by his abusive family, who apparently treated Lawrence as a jester and their personal servant. Facilier also mentions the possibility of Lawrence eventually marrying, though he claims that his wife will also humiliate and take advantage of him.
Lawrence was animated by Disney artist Anthony DeRosa. According to directors Ron Clements and John Musker on the film's DVD audio commentary, Lawrence was designed to resemble past Disney character Mr. Smee from Peter Pan, and the overall broad design style of John Lounsbery; one of Walt Disney's "Nine Old Men". Animator and character designer, Randy Haycock, stated he designed Lawrence to have rodent-like qualities, to symbolize the fact that he was a "rat".
Though he serves as the secondary antagonist in the film, Lawrence isn't evil by design and is only driven to villainy out of constant neglect and disrespect throughout his life. He's easily annoyed by Naveen's laziness and rambunctious antics and voices his opinions on the matter frequently, only to be ignored by the formerly carefree prince time and time again. Not only that, due to Naveen, Lawrence is often publicly humiliated, another reason for his eventual treachery. All these factors would eventually lead Lawrence down a dark path, and it has been shown that he someday wishes to overthrow Naveen to have a taste of the power and respect he believes he deserves.
Even after his deal with Dr. Facilier, however, Lawrence's true nature (one ultimately gentle and sympathetic) overcomes his villainy occasionally, as he was seen with a hint of guilt for betraying Naveen thrice; the first instance was during the climax of "Friends on the Other Side", where Lawrence, despite initially being thrilled with Facilier's offer, showed extreme horror and regret at what the witch doctor's spell had done to Naveen. After imprisoning Naveen in a jar to prevent him from interfering with Facilier's scheme, Lawrence showed sympathy for the prince and loosened the lid to ensure he didn't suffocate—so much so, that Naveen was able to escape, implying he removed the lid all together. Finally, Lawrence made a legitimate attempt to revoke his deal with Facilier, unwilling to engage in a further villainous activity, but he was manipulated by the smooth-talking doctor to allow his greed and abusive past to consume his senses, thus continuing on with the scheme.
With that said, Lawrence is ultimately an incredibly greedy man, which acts as the prime motivation to his collaboration with Facilier. Hints of his greed could even be seen during his and Naveen's arrival in New Orleans, where he wholeheartedly supported the idea of marrying a woman strictly for her money and advised Naveen to do so, to overcome life following his cut from the royal fortune.
Role in the film
Lawrence is first seen arriving in New Orleans alongside Naveen via riverboat. Reason being, the prince has been cut off from his parents' Royal Fortune and is seeking a way to become rich again. Sometime after disembarking, however, the overworked valet loses the prince, but eventually finds him in the streets of the French Quarter, dancing and partying with the locals. Knowing they're supposed to meet with Charlotte La Bouff (whom Naveen is set to woo and marry) and her father, Eli "Big Daddy" La Bouff, Lawrence urges the prince to end his festivities, only to be publicly humiliated by Naveen's sassy remarks and actions. After the commotion, the duo encounters a shadowy figure; a witch doctor by the name of Dr. Facilier, who leads them to his lair in an alley. During the song “Friends on the Other Side”, The doctor manipulates Naveen into believing he's receiving the chance to regain his wealth without marriage and offers Lawrence a chance to live the life of a prince. Naveen reluctantly accepts and Lawrence does the same, albeit eagerly and immediately, thus setting the deal in motion.
The true motives of Facilier, however, is to have Lawrence become his minion, transform his appearance into Naveen's, and have him marry Charlotte. Once he does, Facilier will murder Big Daddy, thus allowing Lawrence to inherit the family fortune. The two villains then plan to split the money and live the rest of their lives wealthy beyond belief. Whilst a disguised Lawrence heads to Charlotte's masquerade ball to begin the plot, Naveen was transformed into a frog and imprisoned in a jar. At the ball, Charlotte and Lawrence share a waltz and in during which, Naveen manages to escape, thanks to Lawrence having loosened the lid on his jar out of pity when the transformed prince seemed to be suffocating. This leads Naveen into meeting Tiana, whom he kisses in attempt to break the frog curse, only for Tiana to fall victim to the curse as well.
In the resulting chaos following the two frogs' getting launched into the ball, Lawrence and Facilier see the transformed Naveen and Tiana float away with a few balloons then scurry off to the guest house to check whether or not Naveen was still there, only to discover the jar being empty. The cross Facilier then becomes furious with Lawrence. Lawrence begins to have second thoughts about the scheme and tears off the talisman that gives him the appearance of Prince Naveen, reverting him to his true appearance. Lawrence tells Facilier he can't get through with the plan and throws the talisman to him, telling him to wear it himself, to which Facilier demonstrates that his own voodoo doesn't work on himself. He convinces Lawrence to proceed with the scheme by playing on the latter's resentment against the upper class since they have the true power, which Lawrence agrees with. Fearing what they'd do now that the prince has fled, Facilier reassures Lawrence all is well, so long as they have the prince's blood in the talisman.
The next day, the blood begins to run low, causing Lawrence's disguise to fade away. Fortunately for him, he manages to propose to Charlotte and she leaves before his cover is blown, but a frustrated Facilier then shows up and voices concern, confessing he's now reduced to asking for help from his friends on the other side. Back at his lair, Facilier commands a legion of shadow demons to find and capture Naveen. As they're out searching, Lawrence keeps clear of Charlotte, up until the night of their wedding, when the shadows finally return with the frog prince in their possessions. Lawrence eagerly extracts the Royal Blood and returns to his princely disguise, heading out to join the festivities of Mardi Gras as the wedding ceremony begins.
Before their marriage is sealed, however, Naveen is freed from his prison by his firefly friend, Ray, and battles Lawrence for the talisman. The wedding is put to a halt and Lawrence rushes into a nearby church, with Naveen in his grip. Before he's able to confine him yet again, the frog prince manages to pull the talisman off Lawrence's neck and throws and it over to Ray, who escapes and gives it to Tiana, telling her to not let the Shadow Man get it no matter what. Lawrence is ordered to stay out of sight by the doctor whilst the latter and his shadow demons rush out to retrieve the necklace. As Lawrence stays put with Naveen, Facilier meets his demise at the hands of Tiana, who successfully destroys the talisman, thus ending the villainous plot for good. Meanwhile, when Mardi Gras comes close to an end, Charlotte begins to confront her fiancé, only to find Lawrence in his true form. The southern belle screams in horror, causing Lawrence to flee the scene in screaming in horror as well, discarding Naveen as he does. Big Daddy is informed of the impersonating situation and orders for Lawrence's arrest. Despite his pleads for freedom and claims he was completely innocent and was only manipulated by Facilier, Lawrence is apprehended and taken to the Parish Prison.
Lawrence plays a minor role in the game, being featured alongside Dr. Facilier as an antagonist in one of the mini-games. Here, he apparently resides in Dr. Facilier's Voodoo Emporium alongside the evil doctor.
Currently, Lawrence makes no live appearances at the Disney theme parks. However, he does make a live appearance on the tour show Disney On Ice: Dare to Dream. In the show, unlike the film, he doesn't join forces with Facilier. Instead, he flees the scene the moment Naveen and Facilier strike the deal, thus casting the spell.
Lawrence appears in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. In Frontierland and Liberty Square, Hades revives Dr. Facilier from "the other side" and the Shadow Man plots to take over Frontierland. Other than that, he also wishes to have revenge on Tiana. Facilier frees Lawrence from prison and sends him to Tiana's Palace. Lawrence, now having adopted the nickname "Voodoo Larry", poisons the meals at the restaurant so that when everyone eats them, they will be under Facilier's control. The park guests arrive before Lawrence can complete his assignment and defeat him with magic.