Hot on the heels of a big casting announcement for The Lion King (Chiwetel Ejiofor will play Scar), a new report has some info on another coveted part from a different Disney live-action remake.
Alongside Jon Favreau’s in-development project, the House of Mouse is also working on a new version of Aladdin, helmed by Guy Ritchie. So far, we know that Will Smith is taking over Robin Williams’ beloved role as the Genie, while the studio has chosen Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott to play Aladdin and Jasmine, respectively.
The part of Jafar has remained empty, however, but it sounds like Disney has now found their man. Despite Tom Hardy being rumored for it, today we’ve learned from The Hollywood Reporter that Marwan Kenzari (the upcoming Murder on the Orient Express) has been selected to bring the iconic villain to life. The outlet also brings word that SNL alum Nasim Pedrad has climbed on board to play Mara, a new character described as a “handmaiden and friend to Jasmine” who will provide some laughs.
The screenplay for the project comes from John August, who has quite an eclectic writing resume – ranging from Go and the Charlie’s Angels films, to regularly collaborating with Tim Burton on movies such as Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie and Dark Shadows. A union between the writing style of August and the very distinctive directing style of Guy Ritchie therefore makes Aladdin a very intriguing prospect indeed.
Following Cinderella, The Jungle Book and this year’s Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s output of lavish live-action fairytales shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. The latter recently cemented its place in Hollywood’s history books after crossing that all-important $1 billion milestone at the box office, so it’s small wonder why the Mouse House view these modern interpretations as big business. And with the cast that they’re looking to line up for Aladdin, we’re certain that they’ll find themselves with another hit on their hands.