Disney, Live Action, News

Disney’s Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ Movie: Guy Ritchie to Direct + Production To Start This Summer

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This Friday, Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast will mark the studio’s latest installment of its ongoing (and well-documented) run of live-action remakes based on its library of classic animated films.

Regardless of what you think about Beauty and the Beast, it may not surprise you that there is another live-action remake headed our way.

In a couple news reports that went under our radar last year (and one item that cropped up last month), it was revealed that the studio has forged ahead with a live-action remake of the 1992 animated film Aladdin*.

In the director’s chair for the project is Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes movies, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), who will direct from a screenplay by John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, and Frankenweenie). Dan Lin, who produced Ritchie’s Holmes films for Warner Bros., will produce this film under his Lin Pictures production banner.

Sources close to the project told THR that August’s script will retain the original film’s musical component. As of that report, how they will approach the Genie character is still being determined, especially since that character remains closely associated with Robin Williams’ memorable performance in the original film.

Guy Ritchie is best known primarily for his fast-paced, hyper-stylized visual aesthetics. This made him a perfect candidate for Disney, who was reportedly seeking a director that could deliver on what the studio promises to be an ambitious, non-traditional, and nonlinear take on the property. Ritchie is currently in post-production on Warner Bros.’ upcoming fantasy film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword*, a movie with plenty of his stylistic flourishes on display, judging by the latest trailer:

Once he’s done with King Arthur, Ritchie will reportedly move straight into Aladdin as the studio intends to begin production on the film this summer. Specifically, according to a casting call floated around on Twitter, Disney intends to start filming Aladdin this July, with principal photography set to last all the way through to January of 2018.

Also, did you notice that the casting call is specifically searching for Middle Eastern actors between the age of 18-25 for the roles of Aladdin and Jasmine? During the press junket for The LEGO Batman Movie, Dan Lin was interviewed by Collider about Aladdin. Lin, who himself is Taiwanese-American, had this to say about the casting process for the movie:

Look at me. (Laugh). I Mean I’m not a typical guy. Listen, I’m very fortunate working in Hollywood; I am diverse. So when I came in to make the movie, I wanted to make a diverse version of the movie. Luckily for me, Guy Ritchie has the same vision and Disney has the same vision. So we’re not here to make Prince of Persia. We want to make a movie that authentic to that world.”

Lin also elaborated on the film’s musical elements, stating that newcomers to the roles will have a challenge: can they be able to act and sing?

We’re gonna be discovering new people because it’s a real challenge, because not only does an actor have to act, but they really have to have singing chops. Disney’s done an amazing job from Cinderella to now Beauty and the Beast. … So they’ve really raised the bar for these musicals and these animation-to-live-action adaptations, that we have to then raise the bar on Aladdin. … Disney’s done such a good job between Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and then Aladdin will hopefully be the next one up.”

Like with The Lion King, Aladdin was an iconic highlight of Disney’s original Renaissance era, and it became something of a small franchise for Disney, with several direct-to-video sequels produced and a short-lived TV show for the Disney Channel and a Broadway show under its belt. Now, the property joins an never-ending list of animated films getting the live-action remake treatment. Will it have the same success as previous films? Once more, only time (and box-office numbers and critical reception) will tell.

What do you think? Are you excited for latest in the line of Disney’s live-action remakes?

* #1: Two years ago, Disney announced that it was developing Genies, a prequel to Aladdin that would have functioned as the origin story of the popular Genie character and explored his world. Nothing from this project has materialized since.

* #2: Disney is also working on its own version of the Arthurian legend: a live-action remake of the 1963 animated film The Sword in the Stone. Again, not much of the project has been heard of since.

Edited by: Kelly Conley

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About Brandon Smith

Brandon is your average nerd with a love for nerdy things (games, comics, anime/manga, etc.). He also loves reading and writing and plans to be an author someday. For now, he writes with passion and curiosity about the world of animation. He lives with his family in North Carolina and is currently attending college.
  • Manuel Orozco

    I was skeptical about this Aladdin remake but now that they are keeping the music from the original, this might have a chance. Aladdin isn’t a Disney favorite of mine but I would definitely see another version of the story depending on the approach!

    • David Page

      Indeed. Lets give them a chance. Who knows, maybe they’ll bring back elements that had to be on the cutting room floor like Aladdin’s mother or somtehing.

      • Manuel Orozco

        Well the Broadway version did something of the kind but I haven’t seen it yet.

  • Rachel Wagner

    I’m not a Guy Ritchie fan but even so he seems completely wrong for this. I just dont know how you replace Robin Williams and his unique comedy so crucial to 2 of those songs

    • Manuel Orozco

      I’m not a Guy Ritchie fan either Rachel since I haven’t seen any of his movies.

    • David Page

      He did the Sherlock Holmes movies. They were pretty good.

      • Rachel Wagner

        I didn’t like those films. Too much of an action movie for Sherlock Holmes

  • Not a single live-action Disney film has satisfied me yet. So no, I’ll be skipping this one till rental. It’s a shame too, as I love the original animated Aladdin.

    • Patrick Moffatt

      I am not to thrilled with them either buddy!

  • On the one hand, I’m very happy they are going to grab some unknown amazing talent to bring in for this remake, but then it’s like I don’t exactly like what the director is doing with this new King Arthur movie….
    Gonna still stay hopeful until I see some casting and possible footage/photos/more news about this
    Just enjoying the ride for now! 🙂

  • aquapyro

    I wouldn’t say 86 episodes was a short lived series when talking about Aladdin.

    • Manuel Orozco

      True but it ran for a year or so.

  • Anonymous

    This seems like a tough remake to pull off. I’ve liked only the Cinderella remake and plan to see BatB, but I’m skeptical for Aladdin. Hope Disney knows what they’re doing.

    • Manuel Orozco

      I agree on being tough. I loved Cinderella and I did enjoy Alice and Maleficent. Other direct remakes I’m looking forward to are Mulan, Snow White and Peter Pan.

  • Parth Sanwal

    Not too sold on Guy Ritchie. His past films have been very different from what an Aladdin movie should look like. We’ll see. While we are on the subject of live action remakes, how excited is everybody for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s Broadway revival?! I love all things Broadway and came up with a seating chart and guide for Lunt-Fontanne theatre, where the production will be mounted. Check it out here: http://bit.ly/2mnfY6o Like and share if you enjoyed it 🙂

    • brandon

      Seems to me like if Disney wanted to make a straightforward Aladdin movie, they woudn’t have went for Guy Ritchie.

      The decision to maintain the musical element is intriguing. Exactly how this component will made to fit into the Guy Ritchie ‘formula’ will be interesting to see.

      • Manuel Orozco

        If I was involved in choosing the director, I would have chosen Kevin Lima who directed Tarzan (with Frozen’s Chris Buck), Enchanted, 102 Dalmations and the Eliose TV movies co-starring Julie Andrews.

        • brandon

          Again, a great choice if Disney wanted something straightforward and traditional. Guy Ritchie is none of those things, which seems to be perfect for the studio’s vision of a live-action Aladdin.

          • Manuel Orozco

            Thanks and we’ll just have to wait and see what Ritchie can bring to the table.

      • Parth Sanwal

        Agreed. A Guy Ritchie “Aladdin” movie will be anything but straightforward. I hope they don’t make it too dark and grim, though.

        • Manuel Orozco

          I’m sure it will keep some of the original’s fun

    • Manuel Orozco

      I might end up waiting until Charlie and the Chocolate Factory goes on tour.

  • Marielle

    They are going younger than usual with the leads, especially for the prince. The casting call says the characters are Middle-Eastern, but it doesn’t say the actors have to be Middle-Eastern. I think they might audition people of Indian origin and people of mixed origin, but they will end up choosing someone Middle-Eastern. People have started saying they hope they cast a Chinese actress as Mulan and not a half-white half-Chinese actress. I wonder if the same applies for Aladdin and Jasmine. Auli’i Cravalho was half-Puerto Rican, and no one took offense with that, but Polynesians are few in numbers.

    • Manuel Orozco

      Not that I saw Moana yet but Puerto Rican no way? As long as the casting is convincing I’ll be okay.

    • David Page

      AND Native Hawaiian. She’s Polynesian in her blood. -_- So if people have a problem, look at her DNA.

      Also, the producers have stated the next Aladdin isn’t gonna be a white guy.

      • Marielle

        You do the math, if she’s half-Puerto Rican, that means she’s less than half-Native Hawaiian. But it’s fine, no one had a problem with that, it’s animated and it’s hard to find Polynesian actors. But what I’m saying is that many people hope they avoid casting a half-Chinese half-white actress for Mulan, and I wonder if people feel the same for the actors for Aladdin and Jasmine. A half-Indian half-White person could easily look Arab-ish, that’s why I wonder.

  • Patrick Moffatt

    Disney needs to stop this okay? I mean REALLY no matter how many of their animated classics get live actioned to me they will always be the original animated ones because I grew up with them . I don’t see why Disney feels the need to remake all of their classic animated movies for a ” new Generation of kids to enjoy when they can just watch the original any time . But what saddens me EVEN more about the Aladdin Live Action remake is that I find itdisrespectful to Robin Williams since HE was Genie not to mention that movie will have A LOT of controversy when it comes out. Thanks a lot Disney for continually ruining your already great animated masterpieces !

    • brandon

      I’ve said this many times before, but I’ll say it again: when these movies stop making money, Disney will stop making them.

      For example: Beauty and the Beast has already become the fastest-selling family movie in Disney”s history, surpassing Finding Dory on Fandango’s pre-sales numbers. $120-$150 million is being projected as the domestic total for the film’s opening weekend, and it will likely make $215-$245 million worldwide in just three days.

      I repeat: when these movies stop making MONEY, Disney will stop making them.

    • David Page

      So…were you insulted by the Broadway play too? Just asking.

      • Manuel Orozco

        Did you see the Broadway version?

  • Jordan Briskin

    I just hope that this version will include elements from Howard Ashman’s original treatment…

    • Manuel Orozco

      That wouldn’t surprise me because of the success of the Broadway version. And I still have yet to see it.

  • Brooks Austin

    i have mixed feelings about a live action Aladdin. It will be impossible for anyone to match Robin Williams’ brilliance with the Genie, but I could be on board with this if they actually follow through and have an actual Middle Eastern cast with this. I’m also glad they’re making this a musical because I love the songs in Aladdin so much, especially A Whole New World. My biggest worry would be if it turns out how poorly mishandled Beauty and the Beast has been as Aladdin is one of my top favorite Disney movies. But ‘I’ll try to keep an open mind to this.

    • Manuel Orozco

      I had mixed feelings too and I will keep an open mind as long as the remake is overall faithful to the animated original.