As #GuyRitchie swaps Sherlock Holmes and legendary swords for magical lamps, #Disney fans everywhere are looking ahead to his live-action outing of #Aladdin. If you are of a certain age, you will most certainly have wished that you had a friend who was a giant blue genie, granting your every wish and turning you from street rat to prince of Agrabah in the wave of a hand.
However, part of what made Genie from 1992's Aladdin so great was a mesmerising performance by #RobinWilliams. Despite Homer Simpson himself (Dan Castellaneta) putting up a valiant imitation of Williams for sequel The Return of Jafar, audiences were craving the madcap ramblings and improv of Williams. It was controversial enough recasting back in 1994, so just imagine trying to find Genie in a world full of nostalgic Disney kids.
'Will' He Or Won't He?
As Disney goes full-tilt with its live-action offerings, it is hoping to cash-in on the success of Bill Condon's Beauty and the Beast with a plethora of other cartoons-turned-live-action. Aladdin has a director and apparently a clear vision, but as of yet, no release date or cast. Forget casting Aladdin, Princess Jasmine or even replacing Gilbert Gottfried as Iago, the only part anyone is looking at is Genie — but has the House of Mouse already found its magical maestro?
According to Deadline, #WillSmith is in early talks to stick on some blue paint and cram himself down into the rusted lamp. Cue Twitter rage.
Smith may be world-famous thanks to Independence Day, Men in Black, I Am Legend and Suicide Squad, but let's not forget his recent slew of massive disappointments like last year's Collateral Beauty. While you can't go quite as far as calling Smith box-office suicide, the 48-year-old is certainly an acquired taste of late.
To be honest, you could cast anyone in the role of Genie and it would likely rub the lamp up the wrong way. Just like Mrs. Doubtfire and Peter Pan in Hook, Williams completely engrossed himself in the role of the genie of the lamp. We all know that one of Genie's rules was that you can't bring back the dead, which is a tragic state of affairs for Ritchie's Aladdin.
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Is Anyone Right For The Part?
Speaking to Collider last year, producer Dan Lin promised that they would find as diverse a cast as possible:
“Listen, I’m very fortunate working in Hollywood; I am diverse. So when I came in to make the movie, I wanted to make a diverse version of the movie. 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.”
While you can completely see why Aladdin doesn't want to get embroiled in another whitewashing scandal, could Smith and Williams just be too far apart in acting style and humor to sit well with fans? Is Williams replaceable at all? To be honest, the only way Disney is ever going to please everyone would be to use Williams' original voice recordings with a CGI genie — which is unlikely.
What we need to bear in mind is this is all still in the very early stages; also remember that Smith was once rumored to be attached to the live-action Dumbo film. So for now, let's all save some electricity, unplug the lamp, and put it back on the mantelpiece for now.
Check out Genie in "Friend Like Me" and don't forget our poll below!