Disney’s remake of Beauty and the Beast is the latest in a slew of live-action adaptations of animated classics,with many more to come. The trend originated with Tim Burton’s psychedelic adaptation of Alice In Wonderland, which grossed over $1 billion worldwide, tipping the company off to an untapped goldmine of potential remakes and re-imaginings. Although Beauty and the Beast was considered a comparative risk for retreading a story that many fans still remember from the first time around, pre-sales for the upcoming reboot featuring Harry Potter allumni Emma Watson are tracking as the fastest-selling family film ever.
Between the ongoing success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the revitalisation of Star Wars, and this latest remake of one of their own animated properties, it seems that everything Disney touches turns to gold. Never one to rest on their laurels, however, the House of Mouse has teased fans with a casting call for director Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin.
The casting call was shared by writer Dani Fernandez on Twitter, and it asks to fill both the role of both the eponymous “street rat” and his Princess Jasmine. It confirms that rehearsals will begin in April, and that shooting for the movie will take place between July 2017 and January 2018 in a UK location.
Alright kids, if you know someone who fits this, you better share this with them. Submit asap. Good luck my babies pic.twitter.com/PLP37ritcV— Dani Fernandez (@msdanifernandez) March 9, 2017
The poster builds on Disney’s promise of no whitewashing in the remake, by ensuring that at least the Aladdin and Jasmine are of Middle-Eastern origin. Experience of singing and dancing is almost a given in these roles, as Disney’s musical numbers are some of the biggest draws to these movies. Marketing for Jon Favreau’s exceptional The Jungle Book reached a fever pitch with a trailer featuring Bill Murray’s Baloo whistling “The Bare Necessities”, and Beauty and the Beast’s early marketing featured sound-clips of Emma Watson singing. These songs have a byline straight to the hearts of millions worldwide, so it’s a sure bet that future marketing will build on these strategies. Expect soundbites of the Osar-Winning “A Whole New World” to feature heavily in the marketing for Guy Ritchie’s live-action Aladdin.
This focus on cultural accuracy highlights a growing trend across the board with Disney to focus on better representation, increased diversity, and more accurate storytelling. The studio has been criticized for its representations of race in its animated films, with traditionally western and white features prevailing over culturally-accurate imagery. That fault doesn’t look set to carry on into the live-action era, with reports that Disney’s live-action Mulan will also forefront cultural accuracy by casting Chinese actors in all of the film’s primary roles. Whitewashing is being combatted to varying degrees in Hollywood, with a number of big budget films choosing to cast recognisable white actors in exclusively ethnic roles. There’re plenty of talented actors who fit the bill, but Disney are among the majority of studios that look for star power to draw in audiences. Whether they’ll go with established actors or find a breakout star remains to be seen.
We’ll keep you updated on any Aladdin news as it comes our way.
Source: Dani Fernandez