The cast of Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin continues to grow. Already, we know that Will Smith will take on Robin Williams’ beloved role as the Genie, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott will play leads Aladdin and Jasmine, and Marwin Kenzari is set to portray the villainous grand vizier Jafar. In fact, a cast photo of the four arrived online just a few hours ago.
Now, Deadline is reporting that Homeland star Navid Negahban will be joining the production as the Sultan. Disney lovers will remember that the original 1992 animated classic portrayed Jasmine’s father as a pretty bumbling character who easily fell under the thrall of Jafar. His general ineptitude has caused fans to joke over the years that the insane power-hungry Jafar would probably make a better ruler of Abrabah than the Sultan.
As this is as a modernized, live-action take on Aladdin, though, we imagine that Negahban’s version of the character won’t be so much of a buffoon and will likely be portrayed as a much more competent leader. That being said, unless the story is changed significantly, it’s likely he’ll still be manipulated by Kenzari’s villain.
So far, Aladdin has received a mixed response to its casting decisions. On the one hand, some have applauded director Guy Ritchie and his team for committing to a (mostly) non-white cast, which should go some way to fixing the white-washing and dubious portrayal of the Middle East in the animated version. However, some have complained that the filmmakers should have only chosen Middle Eastern actors for the project, instead of, say, British-Indian Naomi Scott. It seems that Disney are aware of this argument, though, and are trying to respond to it, if the casting of the Iranian Negahban is anything to go by.
Aladdin will be another full-scale musical, in the style of this year’s Beauty and the Beast, with longtime Disney songwriter Alan Menken returning to compose the film’s score. No release date as been set just yet, but we’ll let you know once that changes.