Disney Passes on Riz Ahmed and Dev Patel; Struggling to Find Stars for Live-Action ‘Aladdin’

Unfortunately, Disney does not have a magic lamp they can rub to cast the stars for its live-action remake of Aladdin and that has led to a few issues. Disney and director Guy Ritchie launched a global casting call in March for the 1992 animated musical live-action remake but have yet to find their street kid or their princess. However, fans who were after accurate representation from its stars should not worry, it is reported that Disney’s commitment to casting Arab and/or South Asian actors is the reason that they’ve struggled to find their leading pair. Whitewashing these roles should not be an option.

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The studio reportedly passed on Riz Ahmed and Dev Patel. (Vianney Le CaerInvision/AP)

Director Guy Ritchie and casting director Randi Hiller brought on casting agents from around the globe and it is reported that approximately 2,000 actors and actresses have read for the lead roles from London, Eygpt, India, and Abu Dhabi. The difficulty seems to lie in finding young stars who can act and sing from a Middle-Eastern or South Asian background. Disney also wants the leading pair to be newcomers which caused them to pass up on Riz Ahmed (Rogue One, Nightcrawler) and Dev Patel (Lion, Slumdog Millionaire) whereas for Jasmine they’re looking at British actress of Indian descent Naomi Scott (Power Rangers) or Indian actress Tara Sutaria. With the importance of chemistry between the leading pair, Disney is reluctant to commit to an actress before they have found their Aladdin.

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In consideration for Jasmine, Naomi Scott photographed at Tamarind by Danielle Kosann.

The most recent rounds of testing are said to have considered Dutch, Canadian and American actors, Achraf Koutet, Mena Massoud and George Kosturos respectively for Aladdin. Whilst the studio is said to be looking for an established name for the villain Jafar; Will Smith is expected to play the Genie.

Production on the live-action was set to start in July however due to the casting delay, it is now planned to start shooting in August. Disney is said to have brought on consultants Marc Platt (Mary Poppins Returns) and Chris Montan (Pocahontas, Frozen) to advise on the project as the search continues…

Who would you like to see as Aladdin and Jasmine?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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