It was a no-brainer of sorts when, sometime after the announcement by Disney of a live-action adaptation of its 1991 animated classic “Beauty and the Beast” which came out in 2017, one of the next slated remakes was its 1993 follow-up, “Aladdin”. Said move was just as highly rated as its predecessor by critics and audiences, as it was during the “Disney Renaissance” period, particularly for its song numbers and voice-work of comedian Robin Williams as the Genie. With the “Aladdin” remake coming next year, the live-action actor for Aladdin’s magical friend has previewed the film’s poster on social media.
The Hollywood Reporter has it that the first official promo poster for the 2019 live-action remake of “Aladdin” has been shared by one of its lead stars Wednesday, October 10. Veteran actor Will Smith, playing the role of the Genie in the lamp, shared the image on his Facebook page. The poster depicts the golden lamp perched on a rock, magical glow around its base and a telltale smoke pillar coming out of its spot. The tagline reads “Choose Wisely” with the movie’s release month of May next year. Smith captioned his post with: “LEMME OUT!! Can’t wait for y’all to see Me BLUE! #aladdin”
Casting for the live-action “Aladdin” in this day and age has been something of an exercise in discretion, with some insistence that actors and actresses of Middle Eastern ethnicity be found. The lead stars of the film have elicited raised eyebrows – Canadian (of Egyptian extraction) Mena Massoud and half-Gujarat British actress Naomi Scott for instance – but the major base-breaker was Will Smith as the Genie. One side of the argument points out that he is not the right ethnicity while the other does not mind but grouses that in portrayal, he does not hold a candle to the original voice of the late Robin Williams.
“Aladdin” is being directed by Guy Ritchie, famous perhaps for “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” in 1998 but more recently known for his “Sherlock Holmes” films starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. He certainly has his work cut out for him, considering that the 1993 original animated classic would gross a then-big worldwide box-office take of $504 million, and win Oscars for Best Musical Score and Best Original Song (“A Whole New World”). For comparison, the original “Beauty and the Beast” premiere earned $425 million worldwide on a $25 million budget, with its 2017 live-action version going $1.2 billion on $244–255 million.
Massoud, Scott and Smith are joined in cast by Marwan Kenzari as Jafar, Navid Negahban as the Sultan, and new characters played by Numan Acar, Billy Magnussen and Nasim Pedrad.
Image from Disney Wikia (Esp.)