Disney is on a remake spree. Following the news that live action remakes of Mulan and Lion King are in the works, the House of Mouse wants to update another beloved animated classic: Aladdin.
Aladdin (1992) is based on a well-known folk tale featured in Arabian Nights that tells the story of a cheeky street urchin who stumbles upon a magic lamp. Granted three wishes by the genie trapped in the lamp, Aladdin sets out to woo the princess of Agrabah and defeat an evil sorcerer who seeks to control the land.
Aladdin has a significant fan following, most notably for the late Robin Williams’s hilarious portrayal of the shape-shifting Genie, making him one of Disney’s most iconic and beloved characters of all time. Like the original, the remake will also be a musical.
In an interview with movie news site Collider, producer Dan Lin reveals that Disney is setting out to make an Aladdin movie that is more diverse and that’s “authentic to the world”, says Lin. “So we’re not here to make Prince of Persia,” he adds, referring to the 2010 adaptation of the popular game in which Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton portrayed um Persian characters.
In a recent casting call for the two leads who will play Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, the notice asks for “Middle Eastern actors” in the 18-25 age range, adding that the ability to sing is a must. The studio even hired an Egyptian acting instructor, Marwa Gabriel, to be the film’s casting director.
This is good news for many who are put off by Hollywood’s recent wave of whitewashing controversies. Both the industry and movie-going public have expressed furore over the casting of Caucasian actors in Asian roles in studio tentpoles like Doctor Strange and Ghost in the Shell.
Personally, I think this is an interesting project. Disney has landed an unlikely director in the form of Guy Ritchie, who is known for more adult fare like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, which is a far cry from typical family-friendly movies associated with Disney. One thing’s for sure though – the frenetic action sequences will be breathtaking!
And while I appreciate that a lot of thought and effort is going into the film’s diversity, my biggest concern is who will Disney cast as Genie. The comedian or actor who eventually succeeds Williams will have very BIG shoes to fill.
What do you think, geeks? Is this remake something you can get behind?