If you haven’t already heard, there is a live-action Aladdin production on the way! To be honest, I think it’s a long time coming. Aladdin is such a classic Disney film and, while I don’t typically like the classics to be touched, I have to say I’m pretty excited!
After seeing Aladdin on Broadway a few years ago (It was freaking amazing. Seriously.), I know that in the hands of a good director, production company, and cast, reinterpretations can be incredible. When directors can use their vision to take works of art to the next level, it’s great. When they can’t, it’s downright disappointing. Hopefully Aladdin will join the ranks of other live-action Disney films that have exceeded our expectations. Here’s what we know so far.
1. British director Guy Ritchie will be directing Aladdin.
You may be familiar with him as the director of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword or the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies. Also, he’s the former husband of pop icon Madonna.
2. Guy Ritchie’s last film was a flop.
Ritchie’s recent film King Arthur wasn’t exactly a hit, earning a mere 30% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics. While that may make some Aladdin fans wary, the upcoming film is sure to be handled with more care considering its vast legacy. It’s Aladdin for goodness sake and surely Ritchie knows that audiences will naturally compare it to its original (or perhaps to the critically acclaimed Broadway production, which, did I mention, I saw.). Also, he is an esteemed director in his own right. Everybody has a bad day.
3. Guy Ritchie has never directed a musical before.
Generally when one is directing a musical, it’s assumed that he or she has some experience. Ritchie has never directed a musical before, promising an interesting experience for audiences. Naturally, he will probably have some guidance, given that Walt Disney pictures is producing the film. At least we hope so.
4. Nevertheless, it’s expected to be a hit.
Ignoring Ritchie’s lack of experience directing musicals and the the flop that is King Arthur, this is Disney, people! Disney makes things happen! The latest live-action Disney film, Beauty and the Beast, earned itself the title of the highest-grossing movie of 2017 (at least so far), earning a humble (*sarcasm*) $504 million dollars. While Aladdin may not be as culturally embraced as Beauty and the Beast, it’s still one of the fan favorite Disney films.
5. The role of Jasmine has already garnered controversy.
In fact, Ritchie has already felt the heat from audiences after many were displeased with the actors cast for the major roles. After it was announced that British actress Naomi Scott would play Jasmine, fans were none too pleased and (totally unshockingly) took to Twitter to complain. Unfortunately for them, the role was not recast.
6. The role of Aladdin will be played by Mena Massoud.
Scott will be joined by Egyptian-born actor Mena Massoud who will play Aladdin. While the actors may be unfamiliar to audiences, they will bring about a sort of freshness that the film could use.
Image Via MenaMassey/Vogue
7. There is one iconic Hollywood actor you’ll recognize.
Also singing on is legendary Hollywood star Will Smith, who will play the genie (who is, let’s be honest, the best character in the film). He will be paired alongside Marwan Kenzari, who will play the villain we all love to hate: Jafar.
8. Speaking of controversy, there is a new infamous character.
Ritchie sparked a wave of backlash this past summer when it was announced that the film would feature a new character. He happens to be white. Fans were not happy. Actor Billy Magnussen will play the fresh face of Prince Anders, a love interest of Jasmine who stands in the way of our beloved couple (so he won’t last long, clearly). While the whole race issue is intense and uncomfortable, who knows, maybe Prince Anders will be an entertaining new addition…or maybe he’ll fuck up the whole thing. Guess time will be the judge.
9. It’s live-action. Which means there may be a real tiger.
I don’t know if Ritchie and the Disney team thought about this when deciding to go the live-action route, but there’s a tiger in the film. Apparently it’s do-able. According to Entertainment Weekly, Rajah will be part of the film and, while their source didn’t explicitly say how Rajah would be depicted, I don’t think they have many choices. If it will somehow be a mechanical tiger, then audiences may be disappointed. If it is a real tiger, we’re guessing PETA will have words. Or maybe they’ll just go The Life of Pi route and go full CGI. We shall see.
10. The film will be released on…
May 24, 2019.
That’s all the news we have so far. So I guess the real question is, will you be joining the ride on May 24th?
Feature Image Via Disney