The original animated Aladdin was one of Disney’s finest efforts. Catchy songs, a feisty heroine, hilarious sidekicks–and, of course, Robin Williams as the Genie. Can the live-action Aladdin hope to compare?
Here’s What We Know
The new live-action Aladdin stars Canadian-Egyptian actor Mena Massoud as the diamond in the rough himself. Naomi Scott, a British actress of Indian descent, is portraying Princess Jasmine. Billy Magnussen is stepping into the new role of Prince Anders, a rival prince who tries to win Jasmine’s heart. Dutch-Tunisian actor Marwan Kenzari rounds out the on-screen cast as the villain. He’s already gotten the nickname “Hot Jafar” from the internet, since he’s, ya know…hot.
There’s one more big name on the call sheet. Will Smith is stepping into Robin Williams’ shoes as the Genie. Will Smith has a totally different comedic style–and will almost certainly rap at some point during the movie. It makes sense they’d chose someone who wouldn’t remind us at all of the original Genie, but those are big shoes to fill.
Directed by Guy Ritchie, who knows his way around a big-budget action movie, the live-action Aladdin remake will hit theaters in April of 2019.
Maybe Not So New After All
The original screenwriter, Terry Rossio, is feeling extra salty about the live-action Aladdin. That’s because although they adapted his original script for the remake, Rossio gets absolutely nothing. Right after the trailer dropped, he tweeted:
“So strange that literally the only words spoken in the new Aladdin trailer happens to be a rhyme that my writing partner and I wrote, and Disney offers zero compensation to us (or to any screenwriters on any of these live-action re-makes) not even a t-shirt or a pass to the park.”
There’s no legal obligation for Disney to offer the original writers any additional compensation. Animated movies aren’t covered by the same Writers Guild of America union rules as live-action films, so Rossio and the other screenwriters aren’t owed royalties for the updated films. Those scripts belong to Disney, and the Mouse doesn’t mess around.
More Remakes on the Horizon
Since the House of Mouse is apparently determined to remake all of its classic animated films, it makes sense that Aladdin was next on their list. After Beauty and the Beast made a billion dollars–and no, that is not an exaggeration–there’s no doubt that Disney will keep mining our collective nostalgia with live-action updates to their entire catalogue.
Also in the works are Mulan, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Lilo and Stitch, Dumbo, and Lady and the Tramp. Since most of those feature either talking animals, aliens, or extended underwater sequences, expect about 80% of the “live-action Disney remakes” to be CGI. If that’s your cup of tea, then enjoy. Just don’t expect to relive the exact same magic from your childhood.