This weekend, the makers of Aladdin stopped at the D23 Expo to explain a little bit about what it was like creating such a classic. Directors Jon Clements and Rob Musker were present along with Eric Goldberg (head supervising animator of Genie), Mark Henn (head supervising animator of Jasmine) Scott Weinger (Aladdin), Linda Larkin (Jasmine), and Brad Kane (singing voice of Aladdin).
They talked about how they cast Larkin and Weinger. The makers of the movie originally didn't see Linda Larkin for her initial audition, they'd only heard her voice and really enjoyed it. Larkin went on to talk about her experience during auditions, how every time she went in to audition the group of other actresses were smaller and smaller while the group of people who she was auditioning in front of was getting bigger and bigger. She also said she knew it was going to be a great film when she saw the script.
Scott Weinger, on the other hand, was on his way off set of his sitcom The Family Man when his mom told him he was going to this audition. He read the script in the car and then did the audition not realizing how important it was. He did go on to say it's probably a good thing he didn't know that, because otherwise he would have been so nervous he would have messed up and not gotten the part.
And of course, how can anyone talk about Aladdin without talking about Robin Williams?
The cast and crew had nothing but praise for the legendary actor. Naturally, Eric Goldberg has the most to say about him because he spent the most time around the actor.
He talked about how the character of the Genie was made with Robin Williams in mind. The Genie is a character who can do anything, and the first person to come to mind was Robin. So, in hopes of casting him, Goldberg was tasked with animating the Genie to a skit of Robin's. The minute Robin saw it, he wanted the part.
Goldberg went on to explain that when Robin was in recording, there would be a few takes, each about a minute long, in which he would do the actual script. And then the people in the studio let him take off and they would have several hours worth of him riffing off of one line. He said that they would find one line out of hours and hours worth of Robin Williams' takes. They would try and sift through the recordings to find the right lines, string them together, and then animate it for that scene.
One scene that was talked about in particular is the scene at the end of 'Friend Like Me' where the Genie has the applause sign on his back. Apparently, after the theatrical release of the trailer, the head honchos over at Disney complained because there wasn't an applause that followed. Instead of trying to up the ante, the animators and directors decided to give Genie the applause sign on his back. It had the intended effect as well as being pretty funny.
After reminiscing with the directors and the other actors, Goldberg revealed something spectacular...
With the release of the Blu-ray and DVD on October 13th, Goldberg and other animators will take Robin Williams' outtakes and animate them! Those hours and hours worth of Robin Williams having hilarious fun with his words will not only now be available to the general public, but so will animations of the Genie in the world of Aladdin.