Guy Ritchie’s live-action Aladdin musical is reportedly having trouble finding actors for key roles. Have they considered just not doing the movie?
Though the studio will likely cast a relative unknown actor as Aladdin, according to The Hollywood Reporter, two big names—Dev Patel and Riz Ahmed—were at one point considered. Either one of them would’ve compelled many of us into theaters. Dutch actor Achraf Koutet and Canadian actor Mena Massoud are now said to be on the short list of contenders. Either way, it’s crucial that the male lead not be white:
But finding a male lead in his 20s who can act and sing has proven difficult — especially since the studio wants someone of Middle-Eastern or Indian descent (the animated film is set in the fictional Middle Eastern city of Agrabah). The original casting call specified that production was slated to begin by July, but the search has dragged on, with Disney and Ritchie having to go back to the drawing board multiple times. Sources say there have been several rounds of tests in London, with the actors coming in for up to two weeks at a time. “The test process was a mess,” says one agent with a client who tested.
Will Smith is reportedly playing the role of Genie, despite my wishes, while the role of Jasmine remains up in the air (Naomi Scott, from Power Rangers, and another lesser-known actress named Tara Sutaria are options). Ritchie’s global casting call in March drew over 2,000 candidates.
THR notes that the casting issues could be just a minor setback and cites Disney’s lengthy process for its live-action musical Cinderella, starring Lily James.