Oh, were to even begin?? Since the success of Beauty and the Beast, Indian & Middle Eastern communities worldwide have been waiting for the remake of Aladdin. Not to say that the original wasn’t perfection with the late Robin Williams, but seriously our souls would be so happy to see a community of actors that have been vastly under represented in Hollywood get their own film! Plus we are having a moment as a community with faces like Hassan Minaj, Mindy Kaling, Kunal Nayar, Dev Patel, Kal Penn, Priyanka Chopra and Riz Ahmed just killing it these days.
When Guy Ritchie announced the remake and open casting call, our community rallied and presented several wonderful contenders, including Dev Patel who auditioned for the lead. We give major props to Ritchie for trying to cast each role with an actor of Middle Eastern or Indian descent, unlike several directors and producers have in the past. Anyone remember The Martian and how the role of Dr. Venkat Kapoor somehow became Vincent Kapoor? Thankfully Ritchie and the producers at Disney are not making the same mistake.
We are super excited to see what Egyptian-Canadian newcomer Mena Massoud does as Aladdin. Massoud’s filmography includes namely Open Heart and Amazon’s recent Tom Clancey series, Jack Ryan opposite Jim Krasinski.
Princess Jasmine will be played by British Indian Naomi Scott. Scott, born to a Gujarati mother and English father, is probably most well known for her recent role in the Power Rangers film from earlier this year. In addition to her filmography, Scott has been working on her music, including Lover’s Lies which she released this past February.
Although both Jasmine and Aladdin will be played by newcomers, Ritchie casted Hollywood A-lister Will Smith to play Genie. Although he has some incredible shoes to fill, we are sure he will create his own memorable Genie that future generations will love and adore.
As of right now, this Aladdin remake doesn’t have a release date, but we are so excited to see what this cast does!