If you have not yet seen the new “Aladdin” movie trailer, you are missing out on the a terrifying (yet amazing) CGI version of Will Smith as Genie. The 50-year-old actor is starring as the iconic blue character in the 2019 live-action film “Aladdin” alongside “Jack Ryan” star Mena Massoud and “Power Rangers” star Naomi Scott.
The film’s director, Guy Ritchie, casted Smith before he casted any other lead character. Smith was able to bring in a different sort of “swaggy” feel to the Genie character while still keeping a comedic persona. Meanwhile, it took four months for the two leads, Aladdin and Jasmine, to be casted.
Ritchie explained to Entertainment Weekly that he “wanted a muscular 1970s dad … [someone] big enough to feel like a force — not so muscular that he looked like he was counting his calories, but formidable enough to look like you knew when he was in the room.” It seemed as though Smith was the perfect choice.
Casting the movie’s two leads was a much longer and more difficult process. After seeing hundreds of auditions, director Ritchie and fellow producers Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich finally made their decision. 27-year-old Mena Massoud was chosen for the role of Aladdin, and 25-year-old Naomi Scott was chosen for Princess Jasmine.
Scott had been drawn to Princess Jasmine’s character even as a little girl, so she was thrilled to take on the role.
“Jasmine’s main objective at the beginning is to really protect her people and to do right by them. She definitely isn’t a finished article at the beginning of the movie, but she has this beautiful arc and progression, and she goes from asking for what she wants to just taking it, and displaying that she is a leader,” Scott told Entertainment Weekly.
As for Massoud, training for the movie was long and strenuous, as he considers himself an actor more than a singer or dancer. The actor’s “claim to fame” was by starring in the Amazon Prime series “Jack Ryan.” By playing the high-spirited and lyrical character of “Aladdin” in the upcoming Disney film, Massoud has taken on a whole new world of challenges (See what I did there?).
The movie is set to hit theaters on May 24 of this year. New characters and songs are being introduced, including a solo one for Jasmine. Disney fans are freaking out. I am freaking out. Let’s hope Will Smith’s somewhat disturbing appearance in the film does not frighten the children.