Disney’s live-action Aladdin reboot could feature actor Will Smith as the Genie, taking on the role that the late Robin Williams made famous in the animated version of Aladdin from the House of Mouse in 1992. Williams, with his often frenetic and over-the-top comedic style and timing and aptitude for sounding like a thousand different characters, made for a very memorable Genie. He tragically passed away in 2014. The live-action version of Aladdin is slated to be directed by Guy Ritchie.
E! Online reported that if Will Smith lands the role as the Genie in the Aladdin reboot, it would be the first time the actor has voiced an animated character since Shark’s Tale (2004). Earlier in 2017, Smith was considering providing the voice of Dumbo in Disney’s live-action remake being directed by Tim Burton, but eventually, he turned down the part due to “scheduling conflicts.”
Deadline was the source which first broke the news that Smith was in talks to play the Genie in the live-action version of Aladdin. In 1992, the animated Disney version of Aladdin was a hugely popular box office hit, grossing more than $504 million. That box office take made the movie the highest grossing flick of the entire year.
Disney’s animated Aladdin film also proved to be a big hit at the 1992 Academy Awards. The song A Whole New World earned two Academy Awards, one for Best Score and the other one for Best Song.
With Aladdin, Disney took a familiar and popular folk tale from the Middle East about a peasant boy named Aladdin who gets transformed into a prince and finds love with the help of a magical genie. Aladdin rubs a magic lamp, and discovers a powerful genie trapped inside, who grants the street rat three wishes. After Aladdin’s encounter with the genie, his life takes a decidedly rosier outlook, that is, until an evil sorcerer enters into the picture and tries to destroy Aladdin’s plans.
The producer of the live-action version of Aladdin will be Dan Lin. He said he would like to bring a fresh take to the reboot, and he would like there to be diversity when it comes to casting. Lin said in an interview with Collider that he was glad that Disney and the movie’s director, Ritchie, had the same vision with regards to having a diverse cast. By having a more diverse cast, he said that would help make the reboot more “authentic to that world.”
So far, Disney has had tremendous success at adapting their animated movies into live-action versions. The most recent example of Disney’s winning strategy is Beauty and the Beast. It has had a worldwide box office gross of more than $1 billion. The studio is hoping that its live-action reboot of Aladdin is also box office gold.
The script for the live-action reboot of Aladdin was written by John August, who also penned the script for Big Fish. Jonathan Eirich will be the remake’s executive producer.
Aladdin will begin shooting in July in the U.K. and complete filming sometime early in 2018. It has a six-month-long shooting schedule, which might end up conflicting with Smith’s own, and prevent him from signing on to play the voice of the Genie. Nothing is set in stone, but he is reportedly giving signing onto the project serious consideration.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy Facebook/Will Smith