Will Smith is still one of the biggest actors in the world.
Sure, Smith has fallen a slightly from grace since being the king of July 4th weekend in the 90’s/2000’s with a few duds and a horribly reviewed Suicide Squad.
But Smith is still an acting powerhouse and just landed a role originally played by one of the greatest icons Hollywood has ever produced.
Do you remember that 1992 Disney film featuring Robin Williams as a blue joke-cracking genie which became one of his most beloved roles of all time?
Well Will Smith has just snagged the role of Genie in the live-action reboot of Disney’s Aladdin.
The New York Post reports:
“Disney has officially found its Aladdin, Jasmine, and Genie for the live-action ‘Aladdin’ remake. The three cast members were announced at the D23 Expo on Saturday.
The House of Mouse may have been having problems finding its titular Aladdin for the remake of the 1992 animated classic prior to D23 this weekend, but the same cannot be said for Jasmine and Genie.
Naomi Scott has officially been cast as Princess Jasmine, while Will Smith will be taking on the Genie. Relative newcomer Mena Massoud has also joined the cast as Aladdin.
Guy Ritchie was previously announced as director.
John August, whose credits include “Big Fish,” wrote the new “Aladdin” script. Dan Lin, who produced Ritchie’s two “Sherlock Holmes” movies for Warner Bros., is also producing “Aladdin” through his Lin Pictures company. Jonathan Eirich is exec producing.
The original animated movie was a comic take on the Arabic folk tale of a young man granted three wishes by a genie trapped in a lamp.
‘Aladdin’ was the highest-grossing film of the year in 1992, and won Academy Awards for best score and best song for ‘A Whole New World.’
Scott was most recently seen as the Pink Ranger in Saban’s ‘Power Rangers.’
Smith can be seen next in Netflix’s fantasy actioner ‘Bright.’ He is repped by CAA and Overbrook Entertainment.”
It’s going to be hard to imagine anybody else playing the Genie other than Robin Williams, but at least they are taking it to “A whole new [live-action] world” with Will Smith.
Williams was always known for his hilarious ad-libbing on movies like Mrs. Doubtfire and Good Morning Vietnam, but Aladdin was truly unique and special.
In fact, after Aladdin’s release, iconic director Steven Spielberg was filming the harrowing Holocaust memoir, Schindler’s List.
When the cast and crew would grow depressed from the intense content they were recreating, Spielberg would ring up Williams – whom he had worked with on the set of Hook in 1991 – put him on speakerphone, and he’d cheer them up with his Genie voice.
That’s how special his performance was. That’s how special Robin Williams was.
And he didn’t want people to profit off his creation.
US Weekly reported:
“His Genie wish.
Robin Williams‘ will prevents Disney from using his Genie voice in any future Aladdin movies, the Times of London reported on Monday, Nov. 9. All of his original 1991 recording sessions as the Genie cannot be used, and will remain on the cutting room floor.
The latest development, if true, will halt Disney’s upcoming live-action prequel about the beloved character — or just not feature the late star’s voice.
As previously reported, the company was working on a live-action prequel titled Genies, which would reveal how the Genie first got locked in the golden lamp.
Williams’ other famous roles also can’t be tampered with. According to the report, unused tapings from his work in 1987’s Good Morning, Vietnam and 1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire are similarly off limits.
Last January, it was revealed that a Mrs. Doubtfire musical is headed for Broadway with the help of Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken.”
And that’s why Disney had to take his character in a completely different direction.
Can we expect Smith to live up to Williams’ iconic performance? Probably not.
Still, many thought the same thing about Heath Ledger reprising Jack Nicholson’s role as the Joker.
Either way, let’s hope Will Smith does right by the legendary Robin Williams.