What with the legacy and tragic death of Robin Williams, Disney were always going to face a struggle casting the Genie for their upcoming live action remake of Aladdin. Inevitably, the news that Will Smith is potentially in talks for the role has been met with some pretty hilarious www.rage.com.
The actor, who was previously linked with the lead in the live action remake of Dumbo, has been linked to the job by Deadline Hollywood and would become the first signature on Guy Ritchie's cast list. Yes, it still baffles me that Ritchie is making Aladdin, too.
There's no saying he'll actually sign on, given that they're early talks, but it suggests that Ritchie's strategy is to hire big for the film, which will absolutely face a racial casting controversy if they don't cast authentic Arabian actors (despite the fact that the original story actually features Chinese characters with Arabian names). The Genie is probably the only character they can get away with casting for notoriety over race.
They have to get it right, whatever the case, as Aladdin originally grossed more than $500m when it first came out, and that probably translates today to another $1bn plus haul for the live action remake, to follow Beauty & The Beast's stunning performance.
Incidentally, you have to think of the alternatives before you start castigating anyone for this decision. It could have been Kevin Hart. It could have been Josh Gad (not necessarily terrible, but he's already Olaf). It could have been Will Ferrell, or Adam Sandler or John f*cking Cena. The fact that it's none of them makes this look like a victory.
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