Live-action Aladdin hits bump in the sand as casting drags on

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

Disney is on one hell of a roll, not just with their Marvel and Star Wars brands, but also in large part thanks to their recent run of blockbuster live-action remakes. The making of these potential billion-dollar babies is treated with better care than actual real-life babies, which means they will do whatever it takes to ensure they get all the ingredients just right – even if it means delaying the start of the film – as is the case with the remake of ALADDIN.

THR’s Heat Vision reports that the live-action musical remake of the animated classic has hit a bit of speed bump due to casting over the leading street dweller – Aladdin. The Guy Ritchie– directed film has had names like Dev Patel and Riz Ahmed attached as potential leads, but sources are saying Disney hopes to get an “unknown” for the role, and has since had countless open call auditions, seeing over 2,000 actors and actresses to play the hero and his lady love – Jasmine.

But word is the search for a Middle-Eastern or Indian actor who can also sing has not been going so smoothly, with one source saying the test process has been “a mess.” Production was supposedly set to begin this month, but the casting process is still underway with Ritchie and Disney unable to find the perfect actor. Several unknown actors who were in the running for the role during the recent series of auditions were Mena Massoud, Achraf Koutet and George Kosturos.

Not all is dim news though, as the report says Disney is looking at either Naomi Scott (the Pink Ranger in POWER RANGERS) or Indian actress Tara Sutaria for the role of Jasmine. Though the casting has been narrowed for the leading lady, Disney is still waiting to make a final decision until they find Aladdin, so that they may find the perfect chemistry between actors.

As for official casting, Disney has gotten Will Smith to be the voice of Genie (originally played by Robin Williams), and is apparently looking for a known actor to play the villain, Jafar (recent reports rumored Tom Hardy was being sought by Ritchie).

Disney has no problem waiting for relatively unknown actors, picking Lily James and Daisy Ridley for CINDERELLA and STAR WARS after lengthy casting processes. However, their recent movie, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, cast star Emma Watson as the lead, an actress who is far from unknown, and the movie stands as by far their biggest live-action remake yet with a $1.2 billion global tally.

I’m sure Disney has a reason for wanting unknown actors to lead these massive films, but don’t ask me what that reason is because I would turn into a Stuttering Stanley. Getting a seasoned actor at least ensures they would know their way around a blockbuster movie set, being able to work well with CGI genies and carpets. Dev Patel would be the perfect choice, but if Disney wants to keep rolling these dice I guess they have the money to back it up. In fact, they have so much money they could just genetically enginerr their perfect Aladdin. 

ALADDIN is aiming for a 2018 release.

Source: THR

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