Disney announces the cast of Guy Ritchie's live-action Aladdin includes Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith in lead roles. Walt Disney Pictures has found success in recent years with their live-action adaptations of films from their animated classics vault. With the likes of The Jungle Book, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast finding success both with critics and at the box office, Disney has plans to adapt many of their other animated features to live-action, including Mulan, Dumbo, The Lion King, and Aladdin.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword helmer Guy Ritchie is set to direct Aladdin, and casting on the film has been underway for quite some time - with a recent report pointing to the studio having trouble casting the movie's most famous roles of Aladdin and Jasmine. Though there have been rumors about who exactly may appear in Aladdin, it wasn't until the Disney film panel during this year's D23 Expo that the actors playing the main three heroes of the film were confirmed.
Disney's Sean Bailey announced during the studio's Live-Action Film panel that Mena Massoud will play Aladdin, Power Rangers' Naomi Scott will play Jasmine, and Will Smith will portray the Genie. All three actors were rumored for their respective roles in recent months, but they've now been officially announced as part of the cast of Ritchie's Disney fairytale adaptation. Massoud was a frontrunner for the role of Aladdin along with Achraf Koutet and George Kosturos.
With the three heroes of Aladdin cast, Disney still has yet to announce who will portray the film's villain, Jafar. Rumors pointed to Ritchie casting Tom Hardy as Jafar, though since the studio didn't announce anyone as playing the villainous Royal Vizier, it's likely no actor has officially signed on for the role - Hardy or otherwise. Other roles that may need to be cast (depending on how close Ritchie's film will be to the animated feature) include Jasmine's father the Sultan, Iago the parrot, and any other supporting characters.
Aladdin was originally expected to begin filming this summer, but with Disney and Ritchie still needing to fill out the cast, it's likely production will be pushed to later this year or potentially early 2018. The live-action Aladdin movie wasn't included in the massive release slate Disney revealed during their live-action film panel at D23, and it hasn't been announced so it seems the studio is taking their time on this particular movie. Whether that means Ritchie's adaptation will live up to the beloved animated classic remains to be seen, but they're certainly off to a strong start if the caliber of talent in their three main stars is any indication.