Disney's Live-Action 'Aladdin' Enlists Guy Ritchie to Direct
Guy Ritchie, the stylistic director behind the Robert Downey Jr.-starring Sherlock Holmes movies, is in negotiations to helm Disney’s live-action adaptation of its 1992 animated classic Aladdin.
Dan Lin, who was a producer on the Holmes movies for Warner Bros., is producing what Disney says will be an ambitious and nontraditional take on Aladdin via his Lin Pictures banner. Jonathan Eirich will executive produce the movie and oversee it for Lin Pictures.
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The 1992 movie was part of Disney’s animation renaissance and retold the Middle Eastern-set folk tale of a young man granted three wishes by a genie trapped in a lamp and the evil sorcerer who covets the magical object.
The genie was voiced by Robin Williams, who won audiences over with his unrestrained performance, making Aladdin the highest-grossing film of the year. The movie also won Oscars for best score and best song, the latter for "A Whole New World," one of the pic’s six songs.
The film launched a small Aladdin franchise for the studio, and in recent years it was translated to the stage.
John August wrote the script for the live-action version, which sources say will keep many of the musical elements of the original. Still to be determined is the approach to the Genie, which to this day remains closely associated with Williams' singular and defining performance.
Also part of the nontraditional aspect of the project is the studio's intent to make it nonlinear, a move right out of the Ritchie playbook. The helmer made his name directing snappy crime thrillers such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch that used that kind of storytelling. He last directed The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and is in postproduction on King Arthur, Warners’ upcoming take on the Camelot legend.
Ritchie is repped by CAA.
by Graeme McMillan
by Aaron Couch, Borys Kit