Original Aladdin voice actor Scott Weinger, who voiced the titular street rat in the 1992 animated Disney classic, had nothing but praise for Genie actors Robin Williams and Will Smith when attending the premiere of its live-action re-imagining.
“[Will’s] gonna crush it. He’s gonna be amazing,” Weinger told Us Weekly before the film.
“I’m sure he made it his own. I read an interview with him where he said it was intimidating to step into those shoes but he’s so ridiculously talented and amazing and charismatic, I’m sure he made it his own.”
And of Williams, who earned a Golden Globe Special Achievement Award in 1993 and was named a Disney Legend in 2009 for the role of the manic wish-granter, Weinger said he was a “huge fan” of the late Good Will Hunting star but that it was a “weird thing to be geeking out hardcore over” when collaborating on Aladdin.
“I think the craziest thing was seeing him go from being thoughtful and looking at the storyboards and preparing and just being quiet and pensive and getting ready, and then the red light would turn on and the Robin Williams that we all know came alive. It was an amazing transformation,” Weinger said.
“It was really cool to see. And he made me laugh so hard, I literally fell down on the floor.”
Smith earlier told EW he felt confident he could deliver a take on Genie faithful to the character but with what he called a “hip-hop flavored” spin that was uniquely his own.
“Whenever you’re doing things that are iconic, it’s always terrifying. The question is always: Where was there meat left on the bone? Robin didn’t leave a lot of meat on the bone with the character,” Smith said.
“[He] infused the character with a timeless version of himself. I started to feel confident that I could deliver something that was an homage to Robin Williams but was musically different. Just the flavor of the character would be different enough and unique enough that it would be in a different lane, versus trying to compete.”