Guy Ritchie’s live-action take on Aladdin continues to chug along at a reasonable pace. Disney’s updated take on their 1992 animated blockbuster has already received praise for aiming for more diverse casting, but we haven’t got an answer on who will be the studio’s next Genie with Robin Williams having passed away. Even with Ritchie’s version of Aladdin billed as being a different brand of movie, those are enormous shoes to fill.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Will Smith (and his impressive stockpile of charisma) is in early talks to take on the Genie role. If Smith’s a go to take on the mantle as Disney’s new wish granter, that could push the actor’s possible Dumbo adaptation plans down the priority list. Disney’s live-action adaptation factory has been a lucrative wing of the studio’s output of movies. Cinderella, The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast have made a tidy bit of coin (read: hundreds of millions) at the box office, something Smith has seen somewhat less of lately in his career.
Naturally, the Guy Ritchie factor suggests we will be seeing a new approach to the Genie than how Williams brought the character. (It’ll still be a musical, mind you.) Disney’s president of Motion Picture Production Sean Bailey shared some insight on how the filmmaker fits with the re-imagining when speaking with Vulture last month.
“Guy became interested in doing a Disney movie and we talked a lot about it. When we talked about Aladdin, he said, ‘My stories are really about street hustlers. That’s what I know how to do. And Aladdin is a classic street hustler who makes good.’ Guy’s got his own version of that story in his life. But he wanted to honor and respect the Disney of it all,” Bailey said. “We never want to feel like we have a playbook to these things because we worry it’ll make us creatively complacent. The idea of a highly energized Guy Ritchie Disney musical felt like, Oh, we haven’t done that before.”
With what seems like a never-ending collection of live-action redos on the way, Disney will have an intriguing challenge ahead in selecting new ways to explore already established hits and make the remake relevant beyond just nostalgia and name brand familiarity.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)