Sources claim director Guy Ritchie is trying to secure Tom Hardy to play Jafar in the helmer’s live-action remake of Disney’s Aladdin. Hardy’s star has risen considerably in the past nine years, following his commercial breakout role in director Christopher Nolan’s Inception. The mind-bending blockbuster not only propelled Hardy to such coveted roles as Bane in Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, Max Rocketansky in director George Miller’s reboot Mad Max: Fury Road, and an Oscar-nominated turn as Leonardo DiCaprio’s nemesis in The Revenant; he’ll soon be scaling greater heights in Nolan’s WWII epic Dunkirk, as well as the surprise choice of the titular character in Sony’s Spider-Man spinoff Venom.
Just before studios in Hollywood started taking notice of Hardy’s talents, however, Ritchie cast the actor in the pivotal role of Handsome Bob opposite Gerard Butler and Idris Elba in the 2008 British crime comedy RocknRolla – a move that could prove to be very valuable when it comes to comes the director’s casting plans for Aladdin.
A source tells the UK newspaper The Sun that Ritchie is intent on casting Hardy as the titular character’s nemesis, Jafar, for his upcoming live-action version of Aladdin, which is based on the smash Disney animated classic from 1992 starring Robin Williams. The source tells the publication:
“Guy is a huge fan of Tom’s work and securing him would be a major coup. There have been conversations and, although nothing is set in stone and things are subject to change, he’s certainly one of Guy’s favoured choices. It just depends on schedules whether he’ll be able to sign up.”
Since any director can throw out a wishlist for big names for their films (if not for any other reason, to get their project some publicity no matter how big or small), this quote from an unnamed source could simply be taken with a grain of salt.
The important thing to consider, on the flip side, is Ritchie’s history with Hardy. While the vastly-underrated RocknRolla was a huge disappointed commercially (the Warner Bros. film earned a paltry $25 million worldwide, with only $5.7 million of that coming domestically), it certainly demonstrated the impact Hardy could make in a less-showier role. Having the opportunity to play a subtle character like Handsome Bob to show off his range as an actor no doubt contributed to Hardy’s rise to becoming one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood, and Ritchie is one of the people he can thank for it.
Whether the cinematic Genie will grant Ritchie’s wish for Hardy to play Jafar is yet to be seen, but in the meantime, it’s an exciting choice to contemplate (if not risky, considering Disney wants to avoid any whitewashing controversies). With Will Smith’s negotiations to play Genie being the only major casting move so far, it will be fun to see what other tricks Ritchie has up his sleeve as the film nears its reported July start date. Despite hitting the wall with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, you have to believe that Disney is giving Ritchie enough creative freedom with the project to make inspired casting moves like this reported attempt at Hardy.
Of course, since Aladdin will be a musical, that means Hardy may be required to sing some tunes, which could be a potential deal-breaker depending on the actor’s comfort level. Ritchie obviously has confidence in Hardy’s abilities, though, otherwise he wouldn’t have brought up the actor’s name in the first place. If Hardy cast, Aladdin is shaping up be one heck of a magic carpet ride.
Source: The Sun