Will Smith is among the first names to be confirmed for Disney’s forthcoming live-action remake of Aladdin.
Guy Ritchie is at the helm of the new adaptation, but reports suggested he was having difficulty finding stars to appear in the film.
Now, at Disney’s D23 expo today (July 15), the studio have announced its three lead actors. Smith will Genie and will be joined by Power Rangers star Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine and relative newcomer Mena Massoud (Saving Hope) as Aladdin.
Riz Ahmed and Dev Patel were previously thought to be in the running for the titular role, while Ritchie was urged to avoid “whitewashing” after Tom Hardy was linked to the film.
More than 2,000 actors and actresses were reportedly tested for the roles of Aladdin and Jasmine. The studio was said to be looking for an actor of Middle-Eastern or Indian descent in his 20s who can sing and dance, which apparently proved “difficult”.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that filming on Aladdin is due to begin in London in August, but there are some roles yet to be filled. They include the villain Jafar, which the site asserts will “likely” be a name actor, the Sultan and Jafar’s sidekick, Iago.
Other live-action adaptions in the works at Disney include Mulan and The Lion King.
There is no release date confirmed for Aladdin as yet.