If the casting process for Disney’s highly anticipated live-action Aladdin update from Guy Ritchie seems to have been moving at a slow pace, you’re not imagining things. It’s been a bit of a wait. After a lengthy search, the 21st century’s Aladdin and Jasmine have been revealed.
The news was announced during Saturday’s rather busy D23 Expo. Canadian Mena Massoud has been tapped as our live action Aladdin. Massoud is slated to appear in the upcoming Amazon series Jack Ryan (yes, the dad book Jack Ryan) and was a recurring character on the TeenNick drama Open Heart. He’ll be acting opposite Power Rangers star Naomi Scott who will be taking on the role of Princess Jasmine.
The arrival of Massoud and Scott adds to a cast list that already includes Will Smith in the role of Genie. (You still time to have Mark Rylance play the carpet, Disney. Please return my calls.) In a recent interview with Billboard, composer Alan Menken gave reason to believe Ritchie’s first crack at a proper musical is going alright even if there’s a bit of a learning curve with Disney’s schedule expectations.
“It’s a very fluid process. Guy Ritchie is directing and he’s never directed a musical before so it’s going to be a lot of attempts to reinvent the wheel,” explained the composer of the original and the update. “Where it’s re-inventable, we will do it and where it’s not, we will discover that together. But it has to be avery fast discovery process because at this point shooting is supposed to start in August.”
In the meantime, we apologize for putting all those classic musical numbers back in your head. Sorry! *hums “Prince Ali” for 20 minutes*