Entertainment Weekly has debuted the first look images for Aladdin in a brand new cover story.
The Guy Ritchie-directed film, which will be released in May 2019, stars Will Smith as the Genie, Mena Massoud as Aladdin and Naomi Scott as Jasmine.
With Robin Williams being pegged for the role before his 2014 death (reprising his voice role from the animated film), it was a huge task ahead for Ritchie to find someone who could fill that void.
“The great thing about the role of the Genie is that it’s essentially a hyperbole for who that individual actor is, so it’s a wonderful platform and tapestry for an actor to fill his boots on. So in stepped one of the funniest forces in entertainment: Will Smith,” Ritchie told EW.
Smith said, “Whenever you’re doing things that are iconic, it’s always terrifying. The question is always: Where was there meat left on the bone? Robin didn’t leave a lot of meat on the bone with the character. I started to feel confident that I could deliver something that was an homage to Robin Williams but was musically different. Just the flavor of the character would be different enough and unique enough that it would be in a different lane, versus trying to compete. I think it’ll stand out as unique even in the Disney world. There hasn’t been a lot of that hip-hop flavor in Disney history.”
On Smith, Ritchie added, “He was big enough to feel like a force — not so muscular that he looked like he was counting his calories, but formidable enough to look like you knew when he was in the room. I like the fact that our Genie has an ego and is a little bit vain and he cares about how he’s presented because he’s been doing this for a very long time.”
Twitter hasn’t reacted too well to the cover.
— . (@_ThisIzMe_) December 19, 2018
— BossLogic (@Bosslogic) December 19, 2018
— Jason Wesney (@JasonWesney) December 19, 2018
my dude Aladdin out here looking like Bobby Newport pic.twitter.com/YAwnN3T637
— Aqua-Kam (@kambolecampbell) December 19, 2018
But, this is probably because everyone is looking at the cover and photos without all the details. In Smith and the film’s defense, Smith’s CGI version of the Genie is not finished yet, and he will not appear like that in the film, only in the character’s “human” version.
Smith addressed it on Instagram:
And here’s Will Smith with more info on his genie character’s look pic.twitter.com/obNPeMoBYO
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) December 19, 2018
You can dive into the full Aladdin cover story over at Entertainment Weekly.