As the premiere date for Disney's live-action rendition of "Aladdin" (May 24) grows closer, fans young and old are growing anxious to see how the film lives up to its 1992 animated original. One point of contention, though, has been the casting of the Genie. The role went to Will Smith (yes, "Fresh Prince" Will Smith), and at first, we were like, "Cool, whatever." Then a teaser came out that showed Smith's genie in a more...authentic light. And suddenly, we weren't so sure about this.
Nevertheless, "Aladdin" looks amazing based on the full-length trailer that was released earlier this week (plus, it looks like Smith isn't blue the whole time). No one's more excited than he is, though -- or "hyped," in his own words.
I have faith that Disney is going to get the film right and stay true to everything we loved about the original. Smith, though, has a bigger job to do: live up to Robin Williams's genie.
The late actor passed away in 2014, and playing the Genie remains one of his most remembered and celebrated roles, along with those in "Good Will Hunting," "Dead Poets Society" and "Good Morning, Vietnam." Williams was an improvisational and comedy genius and even performed the Genie's singing parts in "Aladdin."
Knowing he's taking the place of a legend, Smith posted a tribute of sorts, acknowledging Williams's work and articulating that he hopes to do well by him.
Smith enlisted illustrator and character designer for Disney Luigi Lucarelli to animate Smith's Genie to float alongside the original we know and love, writing that he has some big shoes to fill. Understatement, surely, but much appreciated.
Doesn't this make you want to watch the cartoon ASAP?