'Aladdin': Everything to Know About the Live-Action Remake of the Disney Classic
Guy Ritchie directs the musical adaptation, starring Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott and Will Smith.
As Disney prepares to release several live-action remakes of animated classics, Aladdin is no exception. Following the success of recent adaptations such as The Jungle Book (2016) and Beauty and the Beast (2017), Disney fans will experience a "whole new world" as the love story of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine comes to life once again.
The 2019 reimagining, based on the story "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp" from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, will feature not only the original classic tunes of its 1992 predecessor, but also new music from composer Alan Menken.
The film stars Mena Massoud in the title role, alongside Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine and Will Smith as the Genie. Disney has yet to release any teaser clips or trailers.
Before its anticipated release in the spring, The Hollywood Reporter has compiled a cheat sheet of everything you need to know about the upcoming film.
ALADDIN CHEAT SHEET:
Prior to the start of filming, Disney faced challenges to lock down cast members to portray the main characters. In 2017, a worldwide casting call began for the lead roles of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, in search of diverse actors who could sing as well as act. After talk of potential leads from big stars to total unknowns, Aladdin finally found its cast.
Mena Massoud: Plays the titular protagonist, Aladdin. Known around the streets of Agrabah as a scoundrel and a thief, the poor but warmhearted Aladdin impersonates a prince in order to win the heart of the beautiful Princess Jasmine.
Naomi Scott: Plays Princess Jasmine, the daughter of the Sultan who wishes to break free from the confines of the royal palace.
Will Smith: Plays the beloved Genie, voiced by the late Robin Williams in the 1992 animated version. At this year's CinemaCon, Smith hinted that his interpretation of the role will be "a little bit Hitch, a little Fresh Prince and a whole lot of attitude." While the cast has assured the public that the film certainly won't replace Robin Williams in any way, Smith will put his own spin on the wish-granter.
We just started shooting Aladdin and I wanted to intro you guys to our new family … Mena Massoud/Aladdin, Naomi Scott/Princess Jasmine, Marwan Kenzari/Jafar, and I’m over here gettin my Genie on. Here we go!Posted by Will Smith on Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Marwan Kenzari: Plays Jafar, the evil Grand vizier of Agrabah with plans to overthrow the Sultan.
Navid Negahban: Plays the Sultan, who hopes to find a suitable husband for his daughter, Princess Jasmine.
Nasim Pedrad: Plays Dalia, the handmaiden to Princess Jasmine. Although this character did not appear in the animated original, she is said to serve as Jasmine's confidante in the 2019 version.
Billy Magnussen: Plays Prince Anders, a suitor for Jasmine's hand in marriage.
Numan Acar: Plays Hakim, head of the palace guards and one of Jafar's henchmen.
Similarly to its animated predecessor, Aladdin will follow the story of the Arabic folktale "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp." In the 1994 classic, Aladdin is a poor "street rat" with no real family to call his own, save for his mischievous monkey, Abu. Upon meeting the beautiful Princess Jasmine, Aladdin stumbles upon a magic lamp that reveals a wish-granting genie, who helps him win the heart of the princess. Although it was previously unknown whether the original film's animal characters would appear in the new adaptation, it has been confirmed that Iago the parrot and Jasmine's pet tiger, Rajah, will appear in some capacity.
In 2016, it was announced that Sherlock Holmes (2009) director Guy Ritchie would helm the production, while The Lego Movie's Dan Lin would produce. The film is expected to take on Ritchie's action-packed style of directing, as the filmmaker brings experience from his past work in crime genres.
In addition, award-winning composer Alan Menken will score the film, along with writing two new songs for the production with La La Land songwriting duo Pasek & Paul. Menken is widely known for scoring several Disney animated films: Pocahontas, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Tangled and, of course, the original 1992 Aladdin.
Aladdin is set for release on May 24, 2019, after the release of Disney's live-action Dumbo in March. Disney replaced Aladdin with the original date set for Star Wars: Episode IX, which is now set for release in December 2019.
Although principal photography for the film was meant to begin in July 2017, the studio's challenge to find a leading man halted production until September. Filming wrapped in January.
The story of Aladdin takes place in the fictional land of Agrabah, said to be located near the Jordan River in the Middle East. While most of the film was shot at Longcross Studios in Surrey, England, some filming took place in Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan.
The appetite for new adaptations of old classics is greater now than ever before — especially for Disney, which has demonstrated huge initiative to create live-action versions of classic animated films. From Alice in Wonderland (2010) to Beauty and the Beast (2017), these adaptations have proven to be hugely successful, garnering billions of dollars for Walt Disney Studios.
As for Aladdin specifically, a live remake of the acclaimed love story offers not only a new take on the story, but also an opportunity to promote further diversity in Disney's repertoire. Although the studio received some backlash for casting decisions, in addition to accusations of whitewashing, Disney execs did make clear their intentions to accurately honor and portray the culture of the film throughout their search for a diverse cast.