Director Guy Ritchie says the upcoming live-action remake of Disney's animated classic Aladdin will be a musical. Following the blockbuster success of Beauty and the Beast, Disney is heading into production on several more of its live-action updates, including The Lion King from director Jon Favreau, Dumbo with Tim Burton at the helm, and Mulan with director Niki Caro.
The question of whether the live-action films will be musicals is something each director has faced (Favreau tipped his hand to the musical side by saying he wants to cast Beyonce). In the case of Mulan, Caro caused a stir when she initially stated in March that the film wouldn't be a musical, only to clarify a few weeks later that "for sure there will be music."
Ritchie, however, seems intent on keeping the fans of the 1992 classic starring Robin Williams happy, and says in a new interview with Nerdist about his new film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword that "it’d be tough not to make [Aladdin] a musical." Ritchie notes that it's "too early" to reveal anything more about his direction because the film is still coming together. He says:
"I’ve really just immersed myself into that project. So I’m still looking for cast members, we still haven’t found exactly which direction we’re going in. I’m confident that at some stage it will reveal itself to me, but right now it’s just a bit too premature.”
Ritchie's new comments about Aladdin this week seem to validate Disney production head Sean Bailey's thoughts on the project in an April interview, where he described tackling the film as a "highly energized Guy Ritchie Disney musical." While Ritchie has yet to complete casting Aladdin, he has at least one big part of the puzzle in place — if not the biggest piece — with Will Smith in negotiations to play Genie.
Smith, of course, has already made a name for himself in the music industry as rapper; so, it's possible that either Smith could sing or perform hip-hop version of such Aladdin staples as "Friend Like Me" and "Prince Ali," and any other new tunes written for the film (presumably by Beauty and the Beast songwriters Alan Menken and Tim Rice). Ritchie, though, still has to find the perfect actors for Jasmine and Aladdin, who will saddled with performing Aladdin's signature song, "A Whole New World."
Whomever Ritchie locks in to play the pivotal roles, expect an announcement of the actors relatively soon, since Aladdin is reportedly set to go before the camera this July,