After the success of the recent live-action remakes of classics the Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast, the next Disney movie set for a 21st century upgrade is 1992’s Aladdin. Starring Scott Weinger as the poor thief who comes across a magical lamp containing a genie, the animated movie also features the voice acting talents of the comedian Gilbert Gottfried, as well as the late actor Robin Williams as the genie himself.
Ahead of the live action remake, however, it had been reported over the last few days that the Guy Ritchie film had been struggling to find stars, with an open casting call going out in March with little success. At the D23 expo earlier this week, though, Disney confirmed the cast for their live-action Aladdin film, and it includes both established stars and upcoming acting talents.
Back in March, Disney’s magic carpet ride hit a bit of a snag. Guy Ritchie, along with casting director Randi Hiller, worked with Disney to bring in casting directors reaching as far as London and Abu Dhabi, and 2,000 actors and actresses read for the roles of Aladdin and Jasmine.
There were some high profile names, including Dev Patel of Life of Pi and Slumdog Millionaire fame, but at 27, he was reportedly older than what Ritchie and Hiller were looking for. Finding a Jasmine was even further away, due to Ritchie’s desire to test the onscreen chemistry of the pair before making a decision, but seems that now that decision has been made.
Although we’re still a way away from having a confirmed release date, we can still have a look at our new Aladdin. Canadian actor Mena Massoud is a newcomer to Hollywood, but with this movie alongside a starring role in the upcoming Jack Ryan television series, it surely won’t be long before he becomes a household name.
Alongside, him, Naomi Scott has already got one big screen credit to her name; she appeared as Kimberly in the recent Power Rangers reboot, and she’ll star as Jasmine in the new movie, swapping the power suit and the MegaZord for an enthralling magic carpet ride.
Away from the two costars of the film, we can also expect to see at least one recognised star in this new Aladdin movie. For a while now, Will Smith had been rumoured to be part of the film in some fashion, and it’s now been confirmed that he’ll play the role of the genie, taking over the iconic role from the late Robin Williams.
At this stage, there are still quite a few roles that are yet to be fulfilled; we still don’t know who will play Jasmine’s father the Sultan, nor do we know who will take up the role of the villain Jafar or his parrot Iago. It’s one of four live action movies currently in the works by Disney, who are also planning to remake Mulan, the Lion King as well as Dumbo. Produced by Sherlock Holmes’ Dan Lin, Aladdin will begin filming in London this August, so we can expect more updates on the cast fairly soon.