When Disney first announced that it was putting a live-action Aladdin movie into the hands of gritty action director Guy Ritchie, plenty of fans were scratching their heads. It was an odd decision, to be sure. But the producers of the film clearly knew what they were doing, as Aladdin went on to gross more than $1 billion at the box office, spawning discussions of a sequel over at Disney.
So what was behind the choice to bring Ritchie on for Aladdin? According to producer Dan Lin, a lot of it was about where Ritchie was in his career, getting back to his roots while wanting to make movies his family could enjoy.
"I had known him very well from the previous two movies and what I discovered was that his kids loved the Aladdin original animated movie, as did his wife," Lin told ComicBook.com And they loved the animated movie and they loved the Broadway musical. And that's why I sent it to him because he was at the stage of his career which I was at many years ago, where I wanted to make movies for my kids. The Lego Movie is a direct result of my wife looking at me going, 'You've made Sherlock Holmes, you made Terminator. Your kids are too young to watch them. You've got to make a movie for your kids.'
"And he's at the same place now where his wife was telling him, 'Hey, you got to make a movie for your kids.' And that ended up being Aladdin. So that's number one, he had a real personal motivation to why he wanted to make the movie. Number two, people forget that he came from the commercial music video world and worked in other genres since then, but really in many ways it's going back to his roots. His original indie movies are about street rats, and this is the ultimate street rats movie."
Lin had worked with Ritchie on both Sherlock Holmes movies for Warner Bros., so he knew exactly what he was getting when the director was brought on. The producer went on to say that Ritchie went out of his way to ensure that Aladdin looked and felt different than his other films, but that the experience in heavy action actually helped him bring a musical to life.
"And also instead of action, it's a musical, but the musical sequences are very much pre-planned the way an action sequence is." Lin continued. "And so he brings his methodology that he brought to an action movie to the musical genre. And I think he was just excited to try something new. He came in going, 'Guys, this is not going to be your classic Guy Ritchie movie,' which made us intrigued because what he said is, 'I'm going to hold back on the camera. I'm not going to let the camera do the tricks that I'm known for, the GoPro or the fast cutting. I'm going to hold back and restrain myself and use my other skillsets, whether it's creating chemistry between the characters, whether it's the comedy, whether it's going to bring a new spin to music.' And he's very involved in the music to the actual musical sequences. So we thought it was really interesting what he brought you, it's very much a Guy Ritchie movie, but it's using a skill set that he may not have emphasized in previous movies."
What did you think of Guy Ritchie's take on Aladdin? Let us know in the comments!