“Cinderella,” “Beauty and the Beast,” even the sleeping beauty story in “Maleficent;” Disney has been going through their archives and bringing out their best for new live action-remakes. With the millennials growing up and getting more and more nostalgic, it’s no surprise Disney is continuing to dole out their ’90s movies with the classic “Aladdin.” The music sounds promising, the expectations for special effects is high, so hopefully, Disney can deliver the goods with their newest film.
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Unlike the other Disney remakes so far, though, “Aladdin” comes with a little controversy on casting. The original animated film of a clever street rat and a headstrong princess is based on the Arab-style folktale and had the color and culture to prove it. Now though, with popular people of color stories being remade and whitewashed throughout Hollywood, the public is wary of any new adaption promised, and rightly so. Whitewashing and colorism is nothing new in the film industry (think Mickey Rooney in 1961’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”), but it’s certainly gaining attention with recent films like “Ghost in the Shell.”
Though one of the first roles claimed was that of the genie by Will Smith (big shoes to fill there, Will), Disney quickly gained backlash for inventing a new prince character and casting white actor Billy Magnusson (hey, at least it’s not Scarlett Johansson). With leaked rumors to Vanity Fair of applying dark make-up to Caucasian extras in order to “blend in” following that up, let’s just say it’s an interesting start for Disney there. At least they are moving in the right direction with the main cast.
READ MORE: Will Smith Is The Genie As ‘Aladdin’ Finds Its Multicultural Cast
The titular character of Aladdin will be played by Mena Massoud (“Open Heart,” “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”) and Naomi Scott (“Power Rangers,” “Terra Nova”) as Princess Jasmine. Others will include Marwan Kenzari, Numan Acar, and Navid Negahban with Guy Ritchie directing.
“Aladdin” whirls its way back into theaters May 24, 2019, whether we’re ready or not, so let’s hope Disney can pull off something magical.