Disney Is In A Big Mess Over Who To Cast As Aladdin So Twitter Is Helping Out

Production on the live action remake has now been delayed until an actor is found.

Off the back of their wildly lucrative live-action remakes of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, Disney is now gearing up to bring Aladdin to life. Suspend your cynicism because it actually sounds like it could be pretty good, with Will Smith signing on to play Genie.

There’s just one problem: the studio is struggling to find someone to play Aladdin.

After testing some high-profile actors like Dev Patel and Riz Ahmed, Disney decided they wanted a relative unknown (or maybe they ran out of high-profile brown guys?). More than 2,000 actors have now read for the role but no one has been picked, meaning production has been delayed for at least a month.

The casting call for the role mentions the studio and director Guy Ritchie are after someone with a Middle Eastern or Indian background, which is better than getting a white guy to play Aladdin (looking at you Jake ‘Prince of Persia’ Gyllenhaal), but still kind of confusing.

Aladdin is… definitely not Indian. Agrabah, the setting for the film, is fictional but it’s a Middle Eastern locale. The opening song is called ‘Arabian Nights’ ffs. India is close to the Middle East, but it isn’t the Middle East. South Asian actors like Riz Ahmed and Dev Patel are very cool, but it’s a bit strange the studio seems happy with “some kind of brown person” for the role of Aladdin as opposed to someone specifically from the Middle East.

But if Disney is keen to make Aladdin Indian or South Asian there are a lot potential options.

Casting Jasmine has apparently been a bit easier, with the options now narrowed down to either Power Rangers actor Naomi Scott or Indian actor Tara Sutaria. But the problem is they can’t lock in a Jasmine without testing them alongside Aladdin, to ensure there’s some chemistry going on.


‘Power Rangers’ actor Naomi Scott is on the shortlist to play Jasmine.

To be fair to Disney and Ritchie, they seem to be trying to do the right thing, or at least they are hyper conscious of contemporary audience expectations and don’t want to fuck it up. But the whole situation has shone a light on the apparent lack of actors from Middle Eastern backgrounds in the Hollywood pipeline.

Our pick? Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek. Malek’s parents are Egyptian and we know he can sing and dance because he’s been cast in the upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic. Or, there’s always this obvious choice: