In October 2016, Disney announced Ritchie would direct a live-action Aladdin remake. Smith was the first member of the cast to join, signing on to portray Genie in July 2017, and later that month Massoud and Scott were confirmed for the two lead roles. Principal photography began that September at Longcross Studios in Surrey, England, also filming in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan, and lasted until January 2018.
Aladdin is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on May 24, 2019.
A Jinn who has the nigh omnipotent power to grant three wishes to whoever possesses his magic lamp. Smith said that he was "terrified" while playing the character, but that "[he] found a lane that pays homage" to Robin Williams' performance in the original film, while still making the role "[his] own thing". Smith will physically portray the character when he is in the guise of a human, while his genie form will have CGI special effects, portrayed through motion-capture performance and be blue in color.
Mena Massoud as Aladdin: An Agrabah thief and "street rat" who is smitten with the Sultan's daughter.
The Sultan's daughter and the princess of Agrabah who wants to have a say in how she lives her life. Scott said that the character "will be strong and have fun, but also get it wrong and be emotional. She's a multidimensional woman, and she doesn't have to just be one thing. So in this movie, you see her go on such a roller coaster, as opposed to her one goal being to fall in love or get married". She further stated that Jasmine will try to find "the courage to speak out for her people".
Marwan Kenzari as Jafar: A nefarious and deceptive sorcerer, the Grand vizier of Agrabah and the chief advisor to the Sultan who secretly devises a plot to overthrow the Sultan as the ruler of Agrabah by acquiring the magic lamp containing the Genie.
Navid Negahban as The Sultan: The wise ruler of Agrabah who is eager to find a capable husband for his daughter Jasmine.
Nasim Pedrad as Dalia: Jasmine's loyal handmaiden and confidante. A new character that did not appear in the original film.
Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders: A suitor and potential husband for Jasmine from the kingdom of Skånland. A new character that did not appear in the original film.
In February 2017, Lin said that they were looking for a diverse cast and that they would not try "to make Prince of Persia". A worldwide casting call for the lead roles of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine commenced in March 2017, with principal production set to begin in the UK in July 2017 until January 2018. On April 19, 2017, it was reported that either Gabriel Iglesias or Will Smith was in talks for the role of Genie, for which the latter was confirmed in July. In May 2017, Jade Thirlwall was in talks for the part of Princess Jasmine.
On July 11, 2017, it was announced that principal production on Aladdin had been pushed back by a month, to August 2017, due to struggles in finding the right actor to portray the titular role. Over 2,000 actors and actresses had auditioned for the roles of Aladdin and Jasmine but that finding a male lead of Middle-Eastern or Indian descent in his 20s who could act and sing had proven difficult. Naomi Scott and Tara Sutaria were the final two actresses in the running for the role of Jasmine, but neither could be cast until a chemistry test was done with whomever was cast as Aladdin. The studio was interested in casting Dev Patel or Riz Ahmed for the lead role of Aladdin, but neither were considered likely to obtain the role. In what became the final rounds of screen testing, actors Achraf Koutet, Mena Massoud, and George Kosturos were still in the running for the role of Aladdin. However, the studio had begun perusing old audition tapes for the role, having not been satisfied by the latest round of screen tests.
At the 2017 D23 Expo, on July 15, it was announced that Massoud had been cast as Aladdin and Scott had been cast as Jasmine, ending a four month long open casting call. On July 17, 2017, it was announced that Disney had hired Vanessa Taylor to polish the original screenplay by August, specifically to do some "character work" and what is called "script doctoring". Meanwhile, Richie and the studio focused on casting the other main roles with filming slated to start in August in London. In August 2017, Marwan Kenzari joined the cast as Jafar with Nasim Pedrad cast in a newly created role as "a hand maid and friend of Jasmine" who will serve as a "comic relief" and Numan Acar as Hakim. The following month, Billy Magnussen joined the cast in a newly created role as Prince Anders alongside Navid Negahban as the Sultan. The decision of casting Magnussen as a new original white character into the film has drawn criticism with fans and critics deeming it "unnecessary" and "offensive", sparking accusations of whitewashing to the film while pointing out the irony regarding the worldwide search for actors and actresses to play the leads in connection to the controversy. The trailer confirmed that Frank Welker would reprise the Cave of Wonders. In November 2017, Robby Haynes was cast as Razoul, while Welker was announced to reprise Abu the monkey.
The decision to hire Scott, who was half-Indian, to play the lead of Princess Jasmine has also drawn criticism as well as accusations of colorism, as some expected the role to go to an Arab or Middle Eastern actress. In December 2018, Julie Ann Crommett, Disney's Vice President of Multicultural Engagement, said the decision to cast Scott as Jasmine reflected a mixing or association of different cultures in a broad region that consists of the Middle East, South Asia and China by extension, which all make up the Silk Road. The real intention for Agrabah was for it to be the center of the Silk Road and added that Jasmine's mother would be from a land that was not Agrabah.
When asked about Ritchie's take on the film, Pasek & Paul described it as "very muscular and action-packed". Despite initial reports, the animal characters Abu, Iago, and Rajah from the original film will be appearing in some capacity. On December 20, 2018, Gilbert Gottfried said he was not asked to reprise his role as Iago. In March 2019, it was announced that Alan Tudyk would be voicing the character instead.
In January 2018, it was reported that the white extras were being applied brown make-up during filming in order to "blend in", which caused an outcry and condemnation among fans and critics, branding the practice as "an insult to the whole industry" while accusing the producers of not recruiting people with Middle-Eastern or North African heritage. Disney responded to the controversy, saying, "Diversity of our cast and background performers was a requirement and only in a handful of instances when it was a matter of specialty skills, safety and control (special effects rigs, stunt performers and handling of animals) were crew made up to blend in."
The visual effects will be provided by Industrial Light & Magic and supervised by Michael Mullholland, Daniele Bigi and David Seager with the help of Hybride Technologies, DNEG, Nzviage and Proof.
At the 2017 D23 Expo, Alan Menken announced that he will be co-writing new songs for the film with songwriters of La La Land, Pasek & Paul. Menken will also score the film, which will also include the original film's songs written by Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Pasek and Paul wrote the lyrics for a solo for the character of Jasmine, titled "Speechless", which Paul called "a beautiful piece of music", praising Scott's singing as "incredible". Scott said that the song is "a punch in the face" and that "[i]t's just showcasing that [Jasmine] gets to a point where, 'It's not going to be easy and I may lose this fight, but I need to step up'", and felt that many girls will feel connected to the song's lyrics. Pasek and Paul also wrote the lyrics for a new duet for Aladdin and Jasmine, which Paul referred to as "a sweet song". The duo also wrote a new lyric for the original film's song "Arabian Nights". The film also features a re-worked version of the song "Friend Like Me" from the original film, which was described as "a rap with melody".
Will Smith debuted the first official poster on October 10, 2018. The teaser trailer was released the following day. In December 2018, Entertainment Weekly offered a first official look at the cast in costume on the cover of their issue for the most anticipated films of 2019. On February 10, 2019, Disney debuted a special sneak peek of the film during the 61st Annual Grammy Awards which was met with largely negative feedback from audiences, primarily due to the quality of the CGI Genie in his blue design, created via motion capture effects. The negative reception sparked a large amount of memes and Photoshop edits mocking Will Smith's appearance in the sneak peek, several of which humorously comparing it with Tobias Fünke (from Arrested Development) painted in blue in an attempt to join the Blue Man Group. On March 12, 2019, Disney debuted a second trailer on Good Morning America. This trailer was met with a much more positive reception than the previous one, as it featured several songs from the original film and more of Smith not entirely in motion-capture.
Aladdin will be released on stream exclusively on Disney+, Disney's upcoming streaming service. The film will be available during the service's first year of launch.
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