The Disney Live action train is moving along rather smoothly, with the most recent release reaping massive rewards at the box office. Another beloved translation is also in the early statges of development, that being the musical classic Aladdin.
No casting decisions have been made thus far, as the project is stil in the script stages. Still, that doesn't keep fans or critics from playing arm chair quarterback with something as beloved as Aladdin, so why not put all the ideas in one place, right?
Producdr Dan Lin recently indicated that Disney is placing a great deal of importance to find atrue cast of color, as the term white washing has been a rather hot topic as of late. "Listen I’m very fortunate working in Hollywood; I am diverse. So when I came in to make the movie, I wanted to make a diverse version of the movie. Luckily for me Guy Ritchie has the same vision and Disney has the same vision, so we’re not here to make Prince of Persia. We want to make a movie that’s authentic to that world.”
Each film in their live-action series thus far has varied the approach in regards to musical numbers and changes in the story, with each project taken on a case by case basis. Lin said “Disney’s done an amazing job from Cinderella to now Beauty and the Beast—I saw it last week, the movie’s excellent. So they’ve really raised the bar for these musicals and these animation-to-live-action adaptations, that we have to then raise the bar on Aladdin. I actually think The LEGO Batman Movie’s helped me, because on the first LEGO Movie the bar was so high, and I actually think LEGO Batman’s exceeded that bar. It’s the same challenge with Aladdin—Disney’s done such a good job between Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and then Aladdin will hopefully be the next one up.”
Hit the next slide to see who ComicBook.com would cast in a live-action Aladdin!
Disney's current live-action remake, Beauty and the Beast, is in theaters now, and currently holds an 72.80 on ComicBook.com's anticipation rankings. You can view the official synopsis below.
Sayed Badreya as Sultan
The Sultan is a rather lovable figure, wholly intent on keeping his kingdom safe and protecting his lovely daughter Jasmine. In the original film the Sultan has the rank and title but isn't really respected by the other characters, and that would need to be addressed in the live-action remake.
Enter actor Sayed Badreya, who could easily bring a strength of presence to the role but still has that approachability the character is known for. Disney would also hopefully add a bit more depth to the character ala Maurice in Beauty and the Beast.
Shaun Toub as Jafar
For Jafar, you need an actor who can retain his villainous aura through the film, even when interacting with characters like Iago and Genie. There has to be a self-assuredness and quiet confidence to pull t off, and actor Shaun Toub has both of those. He commands the attention of a room but doesn't necessarily give away all of his motivations.
Plus, he's going to have to not laugh at the constant chirping of Iago, which is truly going to be difficult.
Kevin Hart as Iago
Iago is one of the biggest avenues for comic relief and was played perfectly in the original by Gilbert Godfried. A live-action film needs some star power, though, and you can't get any hotter than comedian Kevin Hart for this modern retelling.
It would be very easy to just slip Godfried back into the role, but Disney has shown that they aren't fans of porting actors over from the originals, even if they are rather iconic. The seriousness of Toub's performance as Jafar would be well countered by Hart's performance as Iago, who could very easily steal the show.
Rami Malek As Aladdin
With Beauty and the Beast, Disney paired a known actress in Emma Watson with a talented but less known actor in Dan Stevens. With Aladdin that would be reversed, with Rami Malek in the Aladdin role. Malek is known from Twilight: Breaking Dawn and more notably his stellar role in Mr. Robot, and would bring a fresh take to the character.
As for if he can sing? Well, that is hard to say, but he could certainly do wonders with the part. Hopefully, he can manage it.
Necar Zadegan as Jasmine
Paired with Malek in the lead roles is Necar Zadegan as the lovely Princess Jasmine. Zadegan has done most of her work in television, with stints on 24, Extant, and her current series Girlfriends Guide To Divorce.
Zadegan has been working in the theater since she was 16, so she has experience with these sorts of musical productions. There's also something quite exotic about her, something that is essential to playing the fan-favorite Jasmine.
James Monroe Iglehart as the Genie
No one could ever hope to replicate the performance by Robin Williams as the Genie, and Disney seems to be well aware of that. That's why for their Broadway version of Aladdin they cast James Monroe Iglehart in the role, who brought a vibrancy very unique to his characterization but still retained the over the top elements of the role.
Typically Disney doesn't port over its Broadway actors to feature roles, but in this case, that might be the best move.
Shiva as Raja
In case you weren't aware, there is a shortage of Tigers in the screen actors guild, but only the best need apply for the role of Jasmine's best buddy Raja. Why not then bring in an established talent, one who already has proved her fierceness.
That would be The Walking Dead's Shiva, who has tasted a savior or two in her time. This time around she would get to relax in the posh surroundings of the palace, though, so it might be enough to coax her out of retirement.
Curious George as Abu
Sure you could enlist Marcel, Caesar, or Dunston (of "Checks In" 1 and 2 fame...can you call that fame, though?), but why not go classic and bring on board a children's icon just as renowned as Disney?
That would be Curious George, who has a cartoon at the moment but is always open to taking on new business opportunities, and could honestly use the money for that zen garden he's always wanted to build, though someone should probably tell him Zen Gardens don't have flat screens with endless airings of The People's Court.
Either way, maybe Disney should give him a call.