If you grew up watching Disney movies, then the wait is almost over for the new live-action remake of Aladdin which comes out on Friday, May 24. So, what can we expect? Well, let’s break it down.
Who Stars in the Film?
The biggest actor is Will Smith, who plays the Genie, while Canadian newcomer Mena Massoud is playing the role of the main character, Aladdin. Naomi Scott will play Jasmine — the brunette beauty actually started her career in the Disney Channel original movie Lemonade Mouth. Dutch actor Marwan Kenzari is playing villain Jafar, and Nasim Pedrad (from Saturday Night Live) is playing Daila — who was not a character in the animated film. According to Disney, Nasim will be Jasmine’s handmaiden and friend.
What Are Some Key Differences Between the Original and the New Film?
“We are half an hour longer, and there’s just a difference between an animated film and live action,” The Fresh Prince of Bel Air alum, 50, revealed to Reuters at the London premiere for the movie. “Somehow you can take broader strokes in the animated movies that you can’t afford in live action. Jasmine was the principal character that needed evolving and developing.”
Unlike the original, it sounds like Jasmine will have a stronger personality. “[Jasmine] finds her voice, and she goes through a journey to find it,” Naomi said. “I want little girls to see that.”
Additionally, Will knew that he couldn’t replace the iconic Robin Williams as the Genie, so instead he switched up the character a bit. “Robin Williams didn’t leave much room to improve on the Genie,” he said. “So, I looked at it, and the first thing for me was that it was going to be live action. I thought it could be a little different. I was like I could just use the extreme version of almost my Fresh Prince persona to be able to infuse that into this wild character. I felt I’d be able to capture the nostalgia while at the same time being able to make something new.”
When the trailer first dropped in December, there was one big question — why was Aladdin wearing layers of clothes when he’s a poor street rat? “That’s the question on everyone’s lips,” costume designer, Michael Wilkinson, told Entertainment Weekly. “For the same reason why we thought it wasn’t appropriate for Princess Jasmine to be flashing her belly button for half of the film, we also felt that once you make that leap from cartoon into live-action, you really have to make some adjustments.”
He added, “We thought having so much skin showing on Aladdin for the whole film would be quite distracting on a human actor as opposed to a cartoon character.”
How Long Did It Take to Make?
The film was meant to begin shooting in July 2017, but the studio couldn’t find a leading man until September. Then, filming wrapped in January 2018.
Mena also went to England to learn how to properly sing and dance in addition to performing his own stunts for the film such as riding a camel and scuba diving. “The singing and dancing I had to really train and put in time for, as I’m predominantly an actor first,” he revealed.
Production designer Gemma Jackson and her team built a set — about the size of two football fields — in England to look like the fictional city of Agrabah.
Any Song Updates?
Guy Ritchie — the director of the film — knows the music is very important to fans. “Clearly people are very attached to the original songs and clearly that’s part of the DNA, so we didn’t really want to stray from the original stuff, just an embellishment with a couple of new tracks,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
However, there will be a couple of new tunes, including a lullaby in the beginning of the movie and a solo song for Jasmine. “We’re 26 years later, the world moves on, so there is a shift, which is just an unavoidable aspect of time,” the filmmaker said. “But essentially the soundtrack’s the same, just somewhat embellished with a couple of new tunes in it.”
One thing is for sure — we are psyched!