Films

Will Smith is in talks to play the Genie in Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin, obviously

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Gary Ogden
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In case the news hadn’t reached you, Guy Ritchie is directing a live-action adaptation of Aladdin. 

And we’ve learned today that Will Smith is in talks to be the voice of the genie. That’s the immortal genie played by the immortal Robin Williams, in an immortal role – some say one of his best. 

So what, do we imagine, will a Guy Ritchie Aladdin look like? Lots of street chases, a magic carpet hilariously sputtering and breaking down at some point, fucking 100% a cockney street seller inexplicably appearing in the alleyways of Agrabah and, I don’t know, Statham as Jafar? 

And, while Will Smith may strike you as a weird choice, if he draws on the manic energy he used to bash out in his Fresh Prince days, then he could be a perfect fit. 

It’s not Will’s first dalliance with Disney, either – he was originally slated to appear in Tim Burton’s upcoming live-action version of Dumbo (as Dumbo? His ears are certainly big enough. ZONG!), but he had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts. Either way, it’s clear he wants in on this new Disney real-life resurgence.

He’s not 100% down for the role yet, and filming doesn’t start until around July, but there’s probably a high chance he’ll take it.

Will this be good? Will Ritchie do ‘good Ritchie’ or ‘bad Ritchie’? President of Motion Picture Production at Walt Disney Studios, Sean Bailey, seems to think ‘good’:

“Guy became interested in doing a Disney movie and we talked a lot about it. When we talked about Aladdin, he said, ‘My stories are really about street hustlers. That’s what I know how to do. And Aladdin is a classic street hustler who makes good.

“Guy’s got his own version of that story in his life. But he wanted to honor and respect the Disney of it all.

“We never want to feel like we have a playbook to these things because we worry it’ll make us creatively complacent. The idea of a highly energized Guy Ritchie Disney musical felt like, Oh, we haven’t done that before.”

The thing is, “Oh, we haven’t done that before” can lead to very good things, like when I went on a bungee swing once; but also to bad things, like when I decided to eat the hottest chili I could find. That ended in an absolute box-office flop.

Let’s hope it’s the former.

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Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", PDAs, not having eczema anymore, hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the eczema thing though. @garyblogden

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