Aladdin is an upcoming American musical romantic fantasy adventure film directed by Guy Ritchie, from the screenplay co-written with John August, and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1992 animated film of the same name, which is in turn based on the Arab-style folktale of the same name from One Thousand and One Nights and the French interpretation by Antoine Galland. The film stars Mena Massoud as the title character alongside Will Smith, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, and Numan Acar.
In October 2016, Disney announced Guy Ritchie would direct a live-action Aladdin remake. Smith was the first member of the cast to join, signing on to voice Genie in July 2017, and later that month Massoud and Scott were confirmed for the two lead roles. Principal photography began that September at Longcross Studios in Surrey, England, also filming in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan, and lasted until January 2018.
Aladdin is scheduled to be released in the United States on May 24, 2019.
- Will Smith as Genie, an eccentric Jinn who has the nigh omnipotent power to grant three wishes to whomever possesses his magic lamp.
- Mena Massoud as Aladdin: an Agrabah thief and street rat who is smitten with the Sultan’s daughter.
- Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, the Sultan’s daughter and the princess of Agrabah who wants to have a say in how she lives her life.
- Marwan Kenzari as Jafar, a nefarious and deceptive sorcerer, the Grand vizier of Agrabah, and the chief advisor to the Sultan who secretly devises a plot to overthrow the Sultan as the ruler of Agrabah by acquiring the magic lamp containing the Genie.
- Navid Negahban as The Sultan, the wise ruler of Agrabah who is eager to find a capable husband for his daughter Jasmine.
- Nasim Pedrad as Dalia, Princess Jasmine’s loyal handmaiden and confidante.
- Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders, a suitor and potential husband for Princess Jasmine from the kingdom of Scanland.
- Numan Acar as Hakim, Jafar’s right-hand man and head of the palace guards.
- Frank Welker as the Cave of Wonders, a sand guardian who resembles a form of a giant head of a tiger who has been tasked to protect the magic lamp from intruders and give it to those who are worthy. Welker previously voiced the character in the original film.
- TBA as Iago, Jafar’s sarcastic and hot-tempered parrot.
Development and casting
On October 10, 2016, it was announced that Guy Ritchie would direct a live action Aladdin film with John August penning the screenplay for Walt Disney Pictures with Dan Lin attached as producer. The studio said that the film would be “an ambitious and nontraditional” take on the tale of Aladdin that would keep much of the musical elements of the original film. On the non-traditional aspect, the studio planned for the film to be told in a nonlinear format.
In February 2017, Lin revealed about casting during an interview, saying that they were looking for a diverse cast and that they would not try “to make Prince of Persia” A worldwide casting call for the lead roles of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine commenced in March 2017, with principal production set to begin in the UK in July 2017 until January 2018. On April 19, 2017, it was reported that either Gabriel Iglesias or Will Smith was in talks for the role of Genie, for which the latter was confirmed in July. In May 2017, it was revealed that Jade Thirlwall was in talks for the part of Princess Jasmine.[
On July 11, 2017, it was revealed that principal production on Aladdin had been pushed back by a month, to August 2017, due to struggles in finding the right actor to portray the titular role. It was revealed that over 2,000 actors and actresses had auditioned for the roles of Aladdin and Jasmine but that finding a male lead of Middle-Eastern or Indian descent in his 20s who could act and sing had proven difficult.
Naomi Scott and Tara Sutaria were revealed to be the final two actresses in the running for the role of Jasmine, but neither could be cast until a chemistry test was done with whomever was cast as Aladdin. The studio was interested in casting Dev Patel or Riz Ahmed for the lead role of Aladdin, but neither were considered likely to obtain the role. In what became the final rounds of screen testing, actors Achraf Koutet, Mena Massoud, and George Kosturos were still in the running for the role of Aladdin. However, the studio had begun perusing old audition tapes for the role, having not been satisfied by the latest round of screen tests.
At the 2017 D23 Expo, on July 15, it was announced that Massoud had been cast as Aladdin and Scott had been cast as Jasmine, ending a four month long open casting call. On July 17, 2017, it was revealed that Disney had hired Vanessa Taylor to polish the original screenplay by August, specifically to do some “character work” and what is called “script doctoring”. Meanwhile, Richie and the studio focused on casting the other main roles with filming slated to start in August in London. In August 2017, Marwan Kenzari joined the cast as Jafar with Nasim Pedrad cast in a newly created role as “a hand maid and friend of Jasmine” who will serve as a “comic relief” and Numan Acar as Hakim.The following month, Billy Magnussen joined the cast in a newly created role as Prince Anders alongside Navid Negahban as the Sultan.
About her role as Jasmine, Scott speculated that the character “will be strong and have fun, but also get it wrong and be emotional. She’s a multidimensional woman, and she doesn’t have to just be one thing. So in this movie, you see her go on such a roller coaster, as opposed to her one goal being to fall in love or get married.” When asked about Ritchie’s take on the movie, Pasek & Paul described it as “very muscular and action-packed”. Despite initial reports, the animal characters Abu the monkey, Iago the parrot, and Rajah the tiger from the original Disney movie will be appearing in some capacity.
Principal photography commenced on September 6, 2017, at Longcross Studios in Longcross, Surrey, England, and concluded on January 24, 2018. Part of the film was shot in Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan. Reshoots took place during the month of August 2018.
At the 2017 D23 Expo, Alan Menken announced that he will be co-writing new songs for the film with the Academy Award-winning songwriters of La La Land, Pasek & Paul. Menken would also score the film, which will also include the original film’s songs written by Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. They wrote the lyrics for two new songs.
Aladdin is scheduled to be released in 3D and IMAX by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures on May 24, 2019, replacing the original date set for Star Wars: Episode IX.
Will Smith debuted the first official poster on October 10, 2018. The teaser trailer was released the following day.
The film has drawn criticism for its decision to add a new original white character by casting actor Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders which fans and critics deemed “unnecessary” and “offensive”, sparking accusations of whitewashing to the film while pointing out the irony regarding the worldwide search for actors and actresses to play the leads in connection to the controversy. The decision to hire non-Arab, non-Middle Eastern and half-white British Indian actress Naomi Scott to play the lead female Princess Jasmine has also drawn criticism as well as accusations of colorism, although certain members of the cast, particularly Negahban and Pedrad, are of Iranian descent while Acar is of Turkish descent.
In January 2018, it was reported that the white extras were being applied brown make-up during filming in order to “blend in”, which caused an outcry among fans and critics, branding the practice as “an insult to the whole industry” while accusing the producers of not recruiting people with Middle-Eastern or North African heritage. Disney responded to the controversy, saying, “Diversity of our cast and background performers was a requirement and only in a handful of instances when it was a matter of specialty skills, safety and control (special effects rigs, stunt performers and handling of animals) were crew made up to blend in