Will Smith speaking at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con International, for "Suicide Squad" could play the Genie in the upcoming live action Aladdin film. Photo by Gage Sidmore
Photo: Robin Williams in Aladdin (1992), www.imdb.com
It looks like Guy Ritchie, director of the live-action adaptation of Aladdin, may have found his Genie.
According to hollywoodreporter.com, Will Smith is in early talks for the magical, musical role. In the original 1992 animated film, the Genie was voiced by the late Robin Williams. Previously, Will Smith was in talks with Tim Burton for the live-action Dumbo movie, but that deal never materialized because of scheduling conflicts.
If the deal is made, Smith’s casting would be the first big role for the Ritchie movie. For the leading roles of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, Disney studio plans to cast newcomers. A casting call has been made for 18-25-year-old Middle Eastern actors to audition for these leads. Rehearsals have already begun and shooting will take place in the UK from July 2017 to January 2018.
The Live-action adaptation of Aladdin will also be a musical. John August wrote the screenplay for this movie. Dan Lin, who already produced Ritchie’s two Sherlock Holmes movies for Warner Bros is also producing Aladdin, while Jonathan Eirich is executive producer.
The original animated movie was based on the Arabic folk tale of a young man granted three wishes by a genie trapped in a lamp. It was the highest-grossing film that year. The animated movie won two Academy Awards – one for Best Original Song with “A Whole New World” and one for Best Original Score. It also won three Golden Globes – for Best Original Score, Best Original Song (“A Whole New World” once again) and a special award for Robin Williams’ voice acting. Altogether, this Arabic fairy tale won 25 awards and had 18 nominations. It grossed $504m for Disney 25 years ago and launched a successful merchandising line.