Disney’s Live-Action Aladdin Has Casting Problems

Disney’s series of live-action fairy tale reboots have proven hugely popular so far, and there many more to come over the next few years, including The Lion KingThe Jungle Book 2, and Mulan. However, it has been reported that the producers of the much-anticipated remake of Aladdin can’t find anyone to play the lead role.

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has so far been unable to find an actor to take on the role of Aladdin. The site states that Disney wants to cast an actor in his 20s, who can sing and dance, and is of “Middle-Eastern or Indian descent.”

THR reports that the casting process has stretched on for many months. There have been a number of rounds of screen tests, with director Guy Ritchie going back to earlier taped auditions when the most recent tests failed to produce any contenders.

THR notes that established stars Dev Patel (LionSlumdog Millionaire) and Riz Ahmed (Star Wars: Rogue OneJason Bourne) were considered, but that the role of Aladdin is most likely to go to an unknown. While the studio has a number of actresses in mind to play Princess Jasmine, including Power Rangers star Naomi Scott, the casting of a female lead very much depends on the chemistry with whoever is chosen to play the title role.

In April, it was reported that Will Smith will appear as the Genie, a role played by Robin Williams in the 1992 animated version. The film was originally set to begin production this month, but it has now moved back to August. It doesn’t currently have a release date.

In related news, it was announced this week that comedian and late night TV host John Oliver will play the role of Zazu in the upcoming live-action version of The Lion King. Oliver joins the like of Donald Glover (Simba), James Earl Jones (Mufasa), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), and Billy Eichner (Timon). The Lion King is set for release in July 2019.

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