Will Smith is in talks to take on the Genie role made famous by the late, great Robin Williams in Disney’s live-action Aladdin from Guy Ritchie.
Production is gearing up for Aladdin in the summer, so expect to hear more casting news in the coming months. For the roles of Aladdin and Jasmine, the studio is casting fresh faces, releasing an open casting call last month.
Will Smith was previously connected to Tim Burton’s reboot of Dumbo, but negotiations recently fell through. Filling the pointy, golden shoes that Robin Williams made iconic sounds like a daunting task.
However, Smith has proven he has over-the-top comedic chops in the past, as seen in Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Men in Black, and Bad Boys. Of course, he also has the musician/rapper background to throw into the ring.
The original, animated Aladdin was released in 1992. It tells the tale of a ‘street rat’ who finds a lamp with a Genie contained within. The Genie grants him three wishes. Aladdin uses those wishes in hopes to make Jasmine, the princess of Agrabah, fall in love with him.
Aladdin went on to be one of the most successful Disney animated films of all time. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning Best Original Song for ‘A Whole New World.’
In 2011, Aladdin made its way to Broadway. James Monroe Iglehart, who played the Genie on stage, won the Tony Award in 2014 for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical.
Aladdin is one of the next in a string of live-action adaptations that Disney has been releasing over the last few years of their beloved animated films. This trend began in 2010, with the mega box-office success of Alice in Wonderland.
It was followed up with Maleficent in 2014, Cinderella in 2015, and The Jungle Book in 2016. More recently, Beauty and the Beast was released a few weeks ago to praise from fans and critics alike.
Disney has a dozen more live-action remakes in the works, reportedly, including Mulan, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin, among others.
Deadline Hollywood broke the news yesterday.