Ahead of the premiere of Disney's live-action Aladdin earlier this year, the Internet had plenty of criticism for Will Smith's take on the iconic Genie character. However, when the film was finally released, most of the reviews reflected fondly on Smith's performance, and his star power helped propel Aladdin to more than $1 billion a the box office. The public has certainly come around on Smith's new Genie, but the creative team behind Aladdin was confident that he was perfect in the role from the start.
No one would ever be able to recreate what Robin Williams did with the character in the original animated movie, so the producers wanted an actor who could make a completely different, but equally exciting version of the Genie. Of course, no one does unique and exciting quite like Will Smith.
Ahead of Aladdin's Digital HD and Blu-ray release, ComicBook.com had the chance to ask producer Dan Lin about the casting of Smith, and he couldn't have been more pleased with the actor's performance.
"I mean, we're just so fortunate we got Will," Lin said. "As has been publicized, he passed at first and then he thought about it some more. I think Jaden [Smith] may have influenced him, and encouraged his role in this movie, but that's the only way that you can cast this movie, which is with the biggest movie star in the world. And it's a role that is so complex because it requires singing and dancing, high expectations, it requires comedy, it requires drama. It really requires kind of the full skill set of an actor, and he pulled it off. And how he did that was he made it really personal. I think that's the number one overarching theme that everyone brought the movie. They they made this movie by bringing their personality to it.
"And so Will Smith, if you look closely at the Genie, is influenced by what he did so well in Hitch and what he did so well with Fresh Prince. This is a hip hop genie and so it's very specific to Will. No other actor could have done this the way he did, in the same way no other actor could have done the genie the way Robin
Williams did. They are so iconic and so the way Will interpreted the Genie was to make an iconic character that only he can play that is very true to himself. And that's what really excited us and allowed us to differentiate and stand out from the previous Aladdin movie."
No one could ever be Robin Williams. Just like no one could ever be Will Smith. That's what makes Genie such a special character.
What did you think of Will Smith's take on Genie? Let us know in the comments!