The cast of Disney’s newest film Aladdin visits the Rosewood London for an exclusive panel promoting the UK screenings.
The star-studded celebrity panel includes Will Smith (Genie), Mena Massoud (Aladdin), Naomi Scott (Jasmine), Guy Ritchie (Director) and Alan Menken (Composer).
When Verge asked Smith about what it was like to play up one of Disney’s most iconic roles of the Genie made famous by the late Robin Williams, Smith said,
“You know, I was terrified with that. When you get that call ‘Hey Will! We are going to redo Aladdin, and we want you to be a part of it.’ That’s like saying we’re redoing The Godfather and we want you to do the Al Pacino role. Like dude, you don’t want to go anywhere near those kinds of roles.”
The Genie is a staple of the Disney brand, and Smith went further into the pressures and excitement of the role and how he wants to create a new iconic Genie.
“Robin (Williams) didn’t leave much room for improvement in the Genie. The first thing that I thought about was that it was going to be live-action. So, I knew there would be some different opportunities there.
The next thing that I discovered in the process is that Robyn Williams actually revolutionized what you could do in an animated film. At that time, nobody was really using that amount of current references. He really created an omnipresent Genie that had been forward and backward in time. And had the full scope of the human experience to draw from for comedy.”
During the interview, Director Guy Ritchie pops in and says, “I want to point something out. Robin, when doing the animation, would go into the studio and do one take, and then another and another and they would then cut them together. Will had to go in and do it right there in real time. Think about that. Will filled Robin’s shoes and then some.”
Will jumped back in and said, “Yeah, it didn’t make it less scary. Robin captured generations and marked peoples’ childhoods. So, what I wanted to do was create a character with the songs and everything that people still connect to, but add that hip-hop flavor.”
The original Aladdin animated movie debuted in 1992. 27 years later, the live-action film hits the screen in one of Disney’s most inclusive and diverse films ever imagined to date.
During the panel, the rest of the cast went on discussing the new Princess Jasmine. Naomi Scott said, “Jasmin is now a woman much stronger than featured in the original. She is be trying to take control of the kingdom and live a much more influential and empowering role.”
The cast made sure to highlight just how important films like these are to the younger generations and world. How Disney is really taking the moment to step it up in terms of inclusion in its films.
Aladdin is out now in select UK cinemas. To learn more about the movie and cast, check out https://disney.co.uk/movies/aladdin-2019