Disney's live-action update of Aladdin just added Billy Magnussen to the cast as a brand new character. The remake of the 1992 animated classic has already found its stars with Mena Massoud as the titular hero, Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, and Will Smith as the Genie. Marwan Kenzari is also aboard as the villainous Jafar. The Guy Ritchie-directed musical still has no official release date and plenty to fill out for the supporting cast.
Magnussen, meanwhile, most recently appeared in Ingrid Goes West with Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen. He is also well known for portraying Rapunzel's prince (and singing) in Rob Marshall's Into The Woods. Disney has gone back to Magnussen to lend his talents to the new Aladdin, and it appears that he could be in line to play an adversary of the title character -- and one that you didn't see in the 1992 original.
THR first reported on Tuesday that Magnussen had been added to the Aladdin cast, but an even bigger story is who he will be playing: a new character called "Prince Anders". The report had no further details about the character beyond his name and the fact that it was created from scratch for the upcoming musical. The "Prince" moniker, however, hints at someone standing between Aladdin and Jasmine.
Magnussen brings plenty of musical experience to the table. He first appeared on Broadway in The Ritz alongside Rosie Perez in 2007 and starred off-Broadway in Sex With Strangers in 2014. He also plays guitar for the New York-based rock band Reserved For Rondee. The multi-talented performer recently recently started adding acclaimed films to his many TV guest roles, appearing in both Bridge of Spies and The Big Short in 2015.
It's unclear what kind of role Prince Anders will play in Aladdin, since he is a brand-new character. But he would presumably play the competition for Jasmine's hand in marriage, an arrogant but accomplished prince and perhaps the Sultan's first choice for the Princess. Regardless of which direction Magnussen's character takes, Disney is betting big on his talents in both acting and singing to potentially craft a compelling antagonist for "Prince Ali".
Magnussen should be the least of Disney's concerns at this point. Considering the actor's pedigree in musicals, he can be expected to deliver. The pressure will be on Ritchie more than anyone after the box office catastrophe that was King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. It may be nearly impossible for Aladdin to live up to the standard set this year by Beauty and the Beast, but the director has beloved source material at his disposal and legit star power with Smith as the Genie. He still has a good chance to avoid another disaster.
- Aladdin (2019) release date: May 24, 2019