Well, those reports that Disney was having a hard time casting for its live action Aladdin film may not have been entirely correct. This afternoon during the live action panel at the D23 Expo, Disney revealed that it has cast the major roles of Aladdin, Jasmine, and Genie in the film. CinemaBlend was on the ground as Disney revealed Mena Massoud as Aladdin; Naomi Scott as Jasmine; and Will Smith as the Genie.
Disney has been chugging along remaking all of its classic animated films into live action. This has proven to be an extremely successful move for Mouse House, with Beauty and the Beast remaining as the No. 1 movie of the year (as far as box office is concerned). The studio has been busy developing a live action version of Aladdin and decided to save some crucial casting announcements for D23 this weekend. Revealed in front of a crowd of Disney fans, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and the now officially confirmed Will Smith will take us all to a whole new world.
Mena Massoud steps into the title role as Aladdin. Massoud is a bit of an unknown, having mostly appeared in television shows like Open Heart and the upcoming Jack Ryan series, so this is a major get for the actor. It was previously reported that Disney was having a hard time casting this role, and was looking at actors like Riz Ahmed, but it looks like Massoud won out in the end.
Naomi Scott has been cast as Princess Jasmine and joins the exclusive Disney Princess club. Scott is perhaps most recognizable for her role as the Pink Power Ranger from the Power Rangers movie that aired just earlier this year. The actress was previously rumored to be considered for the role, and now she has officially joined the cast of the movie.
No one envies the man who takes over the role of Genie after the late great Robin Willaims, but if anyone is capable of making the role their own, it might just be Will Smith. Smith was previously rumored to have been pursued for the role as Genie in the live action remake, and it looks like the actor signed on the dotted line. Smith was also under consideration for the lead in the Dumbo remake, but I think we can all agree this is a step up.
No word yet on who will play the Sultan, Jafar, Iago, or what store will provide the magic carpet, but these three casting announcements should hold us all off for now. These are all some pretty solid picks, and I like how gutsy Disney is in picking some non-A-List talent for the leads -- though Will Smith is there to seriously help them in that category. Now we'll just have to wait to see how well they handle the singing. The film is directed by Guy Ritchie and will also draw inspiration from 1,001 Nights in addition to the Aladdin movie.
Aladdin does not currently have a release date, but stay with CinemaBlend for all future updates.