The first time we saw Will Smith as the Genie from Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin, it was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, where he was “rockin’ the top knit ponytail vibes.” Perhaps knowing that a controversy would follow, the Suicide Squad star wrote on his Instagram, “Yes, I’m gonna be BLUE… This is how the Genie is in Human / Disguise Form. My character will be CGI most of the movie.” Can we go back to that simpler day, before Smith blue himself?
The most-talked about moment from the 2019 Grammys wasn’t Ariana Grande’s absence or Dua Lipa and St. Vincent incredible (and incredibly sultry) performance — it was the latest teaser for Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin, featuring Smith’s “genie with abs.” The reactions quickly rolled in, with Twitter users cracking jokes at the Fresh Prince of Agrabah for looking like “the first Smurf to have a Four Loko” and “a thumb person from Spy Kids,” but there’s one similarity that the internet has really picked up on. I am very sorry in advance.
In less ogre-y news, Smith said he took on the role after he realized that Robin Williams, who voiced the Genie in Disney’s 1992 original (and again in Aladdin and the King of Thieves), “infused the character with a timeless version of himself.” That opened up possibilities “to really say and do anything, so I started to feel confident that I could deliver something that was an homage to Robin Williams but was musically different and just the flavor of the character would be different enough and unique enough that it would be in a different lane.”
Aladdin opens on May 24.