Earlier this week, Disney fans were sent into a frenzy with the official reveal of Will Smith as Genie in the live-action adaptation of Aladdin, mostly because it looked nothing like Robin Williams' animated version of the character.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Aladdin director Guy Ritchie explained that Genie (Disney) would in fact be blue in the finished picture, providing some more details for Smith's eccentric wish granter that should put the purists' minds at ease.
"There’s a particular type of physicality that I grew up with that I was keen on, that 1970s body builder look — not inflicted by steroids but by lifting vast amounts of weight and eating vast amounts of food — so I just want a genie with abs, a genie that looks like he can move stuff," explained Ritchie. "I did want a traditional demi-God, someone who looked like a big, strong dad. I didn’t want a genie that looks like all he can do is eat either, that is the way you end up going.
"I wanted a muscular 1970s dad — he was 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."
Fans were slightly put off when Smith debuted on the over of EW in his human form, but the actor assured fans that he'd look much more familiar when the film premieres in theaters.
"BAM!! First look at the Genie, Princess Jasmine, and Aladdin! Check Me Rockin’ the Top Knot Ponytail Vibes in [Entertainment Weekly] (and yes, I’m gonna be BLUE! :-) This is how the Genie is in Human / Disguise Form. My character will be CGI most of the movie.)" Smith wrote on social media.
"The great thing about the role of the Genie is that it’s essentially a hyperbole for who that individual is, for the actor, so it’s a wonderful platform and tapestry for an actor to fill his boots on, and Will Smith is an extrovert and you need an extrovert for Genie," Ritchie said. "So once you find a voice, which takes a while — and it’s funny because one of the things that we noticed because we tested things is that the Robin Williams concern was an issue, and that issue was aberrated almost immediately because the commitment of tone that we went with Will — and Will depicted our interpretation of how the Genie should be, and it’s different from Robin’s.2comments
"There’s a lot of mimicking that takes place in the original and that’s very successful, but we went on a different path with this one."
Aladdin premieres in theaters on May 24, 2019.