since that announcement, people have been closely monitoring this film’s
production. In particular, its casting process has been one of the most scrutinized
of all time. This was due to fears that it wouldn’t be culturally
representative, following reports that Disney was supposedly struggling to find
actors of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent.
Read on for a roundup of who’s who, and an introduction to some of the film's rising stars.
Guy Ritchie, Director
Having made his name with British gangster films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, Ritchie's career to date doesn't exactly scream Disney. However, big-budget Hollywood filmmaking is not a whole new world to him. He also directed the successful Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes films. Disney will be hoping it’s that Ritchie who turns up, rather than the one whose last film, King Arthur: Legend of The Sword, miserably flopped.
Mena Massoud, Aladdin
An Egyptian-Canadian, Mena Massoud has starred in TV series Open Heart and Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. He will be the one tasked with bringing the character of Aladdin to life. While not a total newcomer, this will be most people’s introduction to Massoud. If he can capture Aladdin's charm in his journey from street rat to prince, then Massoud will start to become a lot more familiar to mainstream audiences.
Naomi Scott, Jasmine
Last seen in Power Rangers, and also set to appear in Elizabeth Banks’ upcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot, Naomi Scott is about to become Hollywood’s next big rising star. Here, Scott is Princess Jasmine, the royal who rejects the role set out for her. The performances of Scott and Massoud are pivotal to this film’s success. Based on the parts that Scott has already been given elsewhere, the powers that be clearly think she’s up to the task.
Will Smith, Genie
Following in Robin Williams’ footsteps is no easy feat.
However, if any actor has the energy and charisma to fill that lamp, it’s
Will Smith. The biggest name in the cast, Smith will be relied upon to bring
some of that old Fresh Prince magic and remind us all why he’s such a star. While
we’ll never have another friend quite like Robin Williams, Smith should still
be able to grant some of our wishes.
Marwan Kenzari, Jafar
An award-winning Dutch actor, Kenzari has already featured in Hollywood blockbusters Ben Hur, The Mummy and Murder on the Orient Express. Here he plays the villainous Jafar, and it will be interesting to see whether Kenzari approaches the role with tongue in cheek or fully commits to the character’s wickedness. Alongside co-stars Massoud and Scott, this film could open up a lot of new opportunities for Kenzari.
This film will have a lot of pressure on its shoulders when it's released this summer, as many people have grown up with the animated original, and these actors will be hoping that they’re not considered worse than drawings. However, they're not the only ones who have brought these characters to life – ahead of the big film release, you can see another group of performers take on these roles in the stage production of Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre.
After the release of a short trailer last month left Disney fans wanting, a new extended trailer has just dropped to whet our appetites by giving us a more in-depth look at to what we can expect. It offers snippets of recognisable remakes of some of the original film's most memorable scenes and songs, from Prince Ali's bombastic parade into Agrabah to Jasmine and Aladdin's moonlit magic carpet ride.
Scott's voice will clearly be one of the film's highlights as she bellows out the chorus of A Whole New World and Smith will clearly bring his loveable brand of humour and larger-than-life acting to his (very blue) role as the shapeshifting genie. We also catch glimpses of stunning film locations, including a desert scene shot in Jordan's Wadi Rum Desert.
|What||Who's who in the Disney live-action Aladdin remake?|
24 May 19 – 24 May 20, 12:00 AM
|Price||£ determined by cinemas|
|Website||Click here for more information|