King Arthur may be opening this weekend, but that didn't stop Nerdist's Jessica Chbot and Dan Casey from asking about Guy Ritchie's live-action adaption of Disney's 1992 animated classic, #Aladdin. During the interview, Ritchie may have confirmed that his depiction of Aladdin will, in fact, be a musical:
“It’d be tough not to make ['Aladdin'] a musical.”
However, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. director did go on to say that it is too early in the process:
“Because I’ve really just immersed myself into that project. So I’m still looking for cast members, we still haven’t found exactly which direction we’re going in. I’m confident that at some stage it will reveal itself to me, but right now it’s just a bit too premature.”
While details are a bit sketchy, it's hard to imagine Ritchie not going full-on musical, considering it was the foundation of Aladdin — and most of the '90s #Disney animated films for that matter. The original 1992 classic raked in over $504 million in the box office on the back of a fantastic soundtrack with songs like: "Arabian Nights," "One Jump Ahead," "Street Urchins" and Lea Salonga and Brad Kane's Academy Award-winning song, "A Whole New World."
Though it may be premature, Ritchie's encouraging endorsement of a potential musical is, well, music to our ears, and another major step forward for the project. For those who were unable to keep up, here's what we know so far about the upcoming adaption.
The Team Behind The Scenes
Joining the aforementioned #GuyRitchie will be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory writer John August, and The Lego Movie producer Dan Lin, who also worked with Ritchie on Sherlock Holmes, with Jonathan Erich on the team as executive producer. Shooting is said to happen over a six-month period starting July 2017 through January 2018, but not much is known about the cast.
Newcomers Welcomes But Whitewashing Is Not Allowed
Whitewashing has been a major controversy surrounding films like Gods of Egypt Doctor Strange and Ghost in the Shell, but producer Dan Lin adamantly expressed that Aladdin will not fall into the same trap:
"Luckily for me Guy Ritchie has the same vision and Disney has the same vision, so we’re not here to make 'Prince of Persia.' We want to make a movie that’s authentic to that world."
Ritchie may be a little bit late to the party ─ earlier this year, Dan Lin had already planted the seed when speaking to Collider about potentially looking for newcomers to play the roles of Jasmine and Aladdin. That's bad news for all those hoping for Avan Jogia to play the title role.
“We’re gonna be discovering new people because it’s a real challenge, because not only does an actor have to act, but they really have to have singing chops.”
In fact, back in March, comedian Dani Fernandez posted the casting call on her Twitter account:
With singing chops being a must, and dancing being a plus, there's no doubt that Aladdin will be a musical. While the roles of Aladdin and Jasmine have yet to be confirmed, a larger-than-life character may have already been cast.
Who Will Play Genie?
#Genie is an instrumental part of what made Aladdin a hit. After all, if not for Genie, Aladdin would have never had the testicular fortitude to approach Jasmine. Thanks to Robin Williams's genius portrayal, the flamboyant and kindhearted granter of wishes will forever live on. While casting calls for two of the most important characters are in the early stages, the role of Genie may have gone to the former Fresh Prince of Bel Air star Will Smith, with a ringing endorsement from director Guy Ritchie:
" I like Will Smith very much... It would make me very happy to be making it with him, but the whole thing is very exciting. I'm looking forward to it."
The Bad Boys star is a big time name in Hollywood, but after a number of blockbusters Smith saw his stock drop a little. Nevertheless, the Suicide Squad actor is still a forced to be reckon with. He's funny, flashy, and with his background as an emcee, I'm sure he'll bring something unique to the role. Smith, however wasn't the first to be considered to play the role, with recent reports suggesting comedian extraordinaire Kevin Hart was offered the role before they ultimately decided to move on.
In the '92 classic, Robin Williams sang his way into our hearts with songs like "Prince Ali" and "Friend Like Me." With the overwhelming evidence pointing to Aladdin being a musical, it remains to be seen whether or not Will Smith can make the role made famous by Robin Williams his own.
As filming draws near, there are a lot of details that need to be cleared up. One thing is almost certain: Guy Ritchie will undoubtedly bring his unique take to his live-action Aladdin.