Twenty-five years will give you such a crick in the neck!
While it has yet to be seen how Will Smith’s performance in the upcoming live-action Aladdin will compare with Robin Williams’ performance in the 1992 Disney classic, I guess I can still see the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air complaining about his lamp’s close quarters while trying to teach a street urchin to become a prince himself.
And the Mouse House is certainly hoping you can, too, because Smith’s pretty much the only A-lister on the roster as Guy Ritchie’s reboot starts shooting, nearly 25 years since the original showed off a whole new magical world in November of 1992.
To mark the beginning of production, while also confirming the main cast, Smith posted up this pic on Facebook …
Although they didn’t make the selfie, joining Smith, Massoud (Amazon’s forthcoming series Jack Ryan), Scott (the Pink Ranger in Power Rangers), and Kenzari (The Mummy) are supporting cast members Navid Negahban (Homeland) as Princess Jasmine’s dad, the Sultan; Nasim Pedrad (People of Earth) as Dalia, Jasmine’s handmaiden; and Billy Magnussen (Into the Woods) as Prince Anders of Skanland, a new character who wasn’t in the original, and whom the Sultan eyes as a potential suitor for Jasmine.
While the film’s cast are still up-and-comers, let’s give credit where credit is due, as Disney seems to have avoided a potential whitewashing controversy here by conducting an expansive casting search. As such, the film, which is based on Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in One Thousand and One Nights, features a diverse range of actors, representing many countries in the region: Scott’s mother is of Indian descent and from Uganda; Massoud was born in Egypt and raised in Canada; Kenzari was born in the Netherlands and is of Tunisian descent; Negahaban was born and raised in Iran; and Pedrad was born in Iran and raised in the U.S.
With production just underway, no release date has been set. But whenever Aladdin drops, we’ll expect good things, what with Disney’s proven track of bringing its classic animated hits into live action. Plus, composer Alan Menken is back to re-record the original songs, along with two new ones. And who knows? Once the film opens, it may just be time for one of these less familiar faces to fly up into Hollywood’s stratosphere (with an assist from a magic carpet ride, of course).