Following in the footsteps of Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, and this year’s box office mega-hit Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin is the latest live-action reimagining to enter development at the Mouse House, which has also drawn up plans for a Jungle Book sequel, Mulan, The Lion King and a Dumbo movie from the inimitable Tim Burton. Yes, it would seem no fairytale is beyond the reach of Disney’s wildly ambitious plans.
With a flick and a swish, the company has recruited a starry lineup of actors to fill out Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin movie, beginning with Will Smith as the gregarious Genie. And though it took a little longer than expected, Disney has selected Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott to play Aladdin and Jasmine, respectively, with Marwan Kenzari (Murder on the Orient Express) assuming the villainous role of Jafar. But there’s perhaps one casting choice in particular that’s been the focus of much attention lately: Billy Magnussen as a new character named Prince Anders.
Given that Anders wasn’t in the original film, many are calling the studio out for only creating the character so that a Caucasian actor could be featured in Aladdin, which is otherwise full of talent from other races. Whether there’s any truth to that or not we’ll probably never know, but the Mouse House has been taking quite a lashing this week on Twitter, where people have made their voices heard loud and clear – including Ryan Reynolds.
they did not just rewrite Aladdin?? Just to add a white person into it?? Right in front of my salad?? https://t.co/bmoTX8gaT2
— #defendDACA (@VancityReynIds) September 6, 2017
oh my god the new guy in Aladdin is white and probably from europe
he'll mention Belle or some shit
DISNEY CINEMATIC UNIVERSE
— Mr. Feel (@mrfeelswildride) September 7, 2017
— RJ Sharp (@RandallJSharp) September 6, 2017
So millions of people have seen the Aladdin cartoon.They couldn't trust the live action to work enough without creating this?! https://t.co/ZeX9XDLGo2
— #1WonderWoman (@bgirl65) September 6, 2017
Despite the backlash here, the project is still moving full steam ahead, with Will Smith posting a set photo just this week to signal that filming is now underway. Disney’s output of lavish live-action fairytales shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon, either, and it’s clear that the Mouse House view these modern interpretations as big business. Whether Aladdin is able to continue their winning streak remains to be seen, but something tells us that they shouldn’t have any problem collecting a good chunk of change from this one.