Call Ansel Elgort: Disney still hasn’t found the right actors for ‘Aladdin’

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I’m too old to have any strong opinions about Disney’s so-called second Golden Age of animation. Disney ruled the 1990s with a series of huge, culture-defining animated films like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Mulan and Aladdin. If our current decade has a “thing,” it’s Disney remaking all of their iconic animated films into live-action movies. I hated the live-action Cinderella, but I did enjoy Maleficent. The live-action Beauty and the Beast was a HUGE hit, and so it was no surprise to hear that Disney greenlighted a live-action Aladdin too. The problem was that they hired Guy Ritchie to direct, which… does anybody trust Guy Ritchie to make a live-action Disney musical, much less a musical which would need to feature a primarily non-white cast? Yeah, not so much. As it turns out though, Ritchie and Disney are committed to casting the film somewhat appropriately, which has led to a global search for the right Aladdin and Jasmine. The film is due to begin production next month and they still haven’t cast those vital roles.

Disney’s magic carpet ride has hit a bit of turbulence. The studio and Aladdin director Guy Ritchie launched a global casting call in March to find the stars for the musical based on the hit 1992 animated film about a street kid who teams with a genie to woo the princess Jasmine. Disney, Ritchie and casting director Randi Hiller brought on casting directors around the world, from London to Egypt to Abu Dhabi and India, for what sources say is a massive global search: Around 2,000 actors and actresses have read for the lead roles of Jasmine and Aladdin.

But finding a male lead in his 20s who can act and sing has proven difficult — especially since the studio wants someone of Middle-Eastern or Indian descent (the animated film is set in the fictional Middle Eastern city of Agrabah). The original casting call specified that production was slated to begin by July, but the search has dragged on, with Disney and Ritchie having to go back to the drawing board multiple times. Sources say there have been several rounds of tests in London, with the actors coming in for up to two weeks at a time. “The test process was a mess,” says one agent with a client who tested.

While the studio had interest in Dev Patel, 27, and Riz Ahmed, 34, the male lead will likely be a newcomer. Sources say the studio is eyeing Power Rangers actress Naomi Scott, 24, or Indian actress Tara Sutaria, 21, to play Jasmine, but can’t lock the deal until the male lead has been selected since chemistry is so important to the story. (Will Smith is signed on to play the Genie, and sources say the studio is after known names for the role of the villain Jafar).

Among the newcomers who were still in the running for the riffraff/street rat in the most recent rounds of testing were Dutch actor Achraf Koutet, Canadian actor Mena Massoud and American George Kosturos.

As the search has dragged on (sources say the filmmakers went back to dig through the tapes once again when the most recent round of testing did not go well), the studio has brought on two movie-musical veterans to consult on the project: Marc Platt, who has a strong background in producing musicals and worked on Disney’s upcoming Mary Poppins Returns; and Chris Montan, a longtime executive music producer for Disney’s animated project such as Pocahontas, Toy Story, Hercules and Frozen.

The lengthy casting process could be a promising sign, however. Disney has had success with previous extensive casting searches for its live-action fare, from Lily James as Cinderella to Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and insiders say the studio’s delay in landing Aladdin is due to its determination to get the casting right for such a beloved and iconic character.

[From THR]

On one side, I’m happy that Disney is sticking to what’s right for the story and for representation. On the other side, you have to admit – this is their only play, to cast these roles appropriately. If they cast Ansel Elgort as Aladdin and Bella Thorne as Jasmine, people would be rioting outside of Disney studios right now. I actually think Dev Patel would have been great… if he was a little bit younger. Like, he would have been great for this eight years ago. That being said, I wouldn’t hate it all if he was cast now. As for it being so g–damn difficult to hire a brown-skinned guy who can sing, dance and act… they realize that there’s a very deep talent pool in Bollywood, right? Like, Bollywood churns out old-fashioned song-and-dance musicals year after year. I guess no one at Disney realized that?

And does anyone have any strong opinions about Disney extending the casting call to all brown people, Middle-Eastern, Indian, Pakistani, whatever? Like, Indians are not Middle Eastern. Pakistanis are not Middle Eastern. But to Disney, it feels like all brown people are the same?

Still: I’m glad that we’re not hearing a shortlist for Aladdin which includes actors like Ryan Gosling, Zac Efron and Ansel Elgort (God help us). And thank GOD no one is trying to convince us that Selena Gomez should play Jasmine. I hear noted Asian actress Scarlett Johansson has gotten a script too!

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100 Responses to “Call Ansel Elgort: Disney still hasn’t found the right actors for ‘Aladdin’”

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  1. Mia4s says:

    What a cover photo! I actually flinched and thought they were considering that potato!

    Cast an actor and then dub the singing if you must. They split duties in some animated films and clearly they are not that concerned about casting top singers. I mean, we all heard Emma Watson’s singi…BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Sorry, I’ll never be able to talk about that with a straight face.

    • OhDear says:

      I mean especially if they’re expanding the casting to people of Indian descent there’s an ENTIRE INDUSTRY in India dedicated to actors/actresses who can sing and dance. They can’t find a single actor who can do that in English?

      And re: Emma Watson: I get that she was a household name, but it comes across as if they’re making the standards much higher for POC than they are for a white person.

    • vaultdweller101 says:

      Maybe I’m going to take a hit for this, but I thought Emma Watson was just awful as Belle. A real disappointment. I mean, the auto-tuned singing, the stilted acting, the negative chemistry with both Luke Evans and Cousin Matthew… Not good. She’s a lovely person, but I wish they’d chosen someone else.

      I mean, if they can’t find a triple threat, singing is the least of it. You can auto-tune singing and maybe overlook it if the acting and the chemistry with the other cast is good enough. IMO.

      Though, I have ZERO faith this will be anything other than a bloated sh*t show. Guy Ritchie is just terrible with these big budget tentpole movies.

      • Marr says:

        I agree with you on everything you said about Emma, but as far as business goes she still was the best choice for the part. The studios care about the box office more than about quality and the only reason BATB made over a billion was because of the “Hermione is Belle” hype. In comparison, Cinderella made bellow average money with an unknown lead. Maleficent fared much better because everybody wanted to see La Jolie as the evil witch (lol). Unlike Star Wars, live action princess movies need stunt casting such as this to make crazy money. And I just made a strong case for why Disney should go with Zayn as Alladin, f*ck… (I’m ashamed to admit I would 100% pay good money to see that sh*t show on opening night and I’m not even a fan of his.)
        p.s. I NEED Riz Ahmed as Jaffar in my life! :D

      • teacakes says:

        @Mari – I agree that a big draw of the Emma Watson casting was ‘see Hermione as Belle!’ and a Disney marketing executive admitted as much in an interview with THR. Which was fine for them because they were trading on nostalgia and didn’t want to make the effort of doing an actual good film – ‘good enough’ was fine, and what Emma lacked in talent, she made up for in residual Harry Potter fan goodwill.

        Cinderella didn’t make as much, but it still made a lot of money ($500 m plus on a $100m budget) and the Jungle Book got within kissing distance of a billion dollar gross with an unknown child as the only recognisable human onscreen. Basically, Disney will mint money off these movies either way – they don’t need a big name unless they know they’re being lazy.

  2. Brittney B. says:

    BOLLYWOOD immediately flashed in my head too. I mean, how clueless can you be, to say you’re having trouble looking for a young Middle Eastern or Indian man who can act, sing and dance?! You just described thousands of actors.


    • Larelyn says:

      They can’t use Bollywood casting because of the accent. Accents are only allowed for villains! While our hero may have brown skin, it is imperative he speaks with a thoroughly American accent. We musn’t confuse the children! (Side note: Blind Gossip has an interesting story about Zayn Malik and this role)

      • Lynnie says:

        If they actually cast Zayn in this role I will 100% die and not in a good way. At that point the movie/promotion would become all about him (instead of the great movie) and I CANNOT with fanbase. Dude just rubs me the wrong way too.

      • Mia4s says:

        I really hope that’s not it. Disney just made over a billion dollars with Rogue One and Diego Luna as the male lead and hero with a thoroughly Mexican accent.

      • Megan says:

        I assumed they were ignoring the obvious talent pool in Bollywood because they want an actor with an American accent.

      • Mia4s says:

        A surprising amount of Bollywood uses dubbed singing, which just goes to my original post; hire the best ACTOR for the job (from Bollywood if that’s where you find him) and then dub the singing. Emma Watson was very good at acting Belle but she’s a desperately mediocre singer and after auto tune all I could think was she was doing R2D2 proud. Would much rather have seen her act the role and then lip sync to a legitimately talented musical theater singer.

      • WendyNerd says:

        @Lynnie Agree, 1000%

    • Snazzy says:

      Yes, I immediately thought of bollywood as well. I mean really Disney, get your heads out of your butts on this one

    • Anna says:

      But doesn’t Bollywood use a ton of playback actresses and actors?
      So I can see why they haven’t gone to Bollywood since they biggest, best looking actors for one, aren’t that young and aren’t the ones singing anyway

    • maisie says:

      HELLO – RAMI MALEK?!?! Sure, he’s actually 35 but looks about 22, is Egyptian, can sing (playing Freddie Mercury!), and is adorable. What is WRONG with these people?

      While I love Dev Patel and think he still looks young enough to play Aladdin, he really has the wrong ethnic background. The other guys in the photos above are too old, as well as being wrong ethnically.

      Do better, Disney.

  3. Ruth says:

    ‘And does anyone have any strong opinions about Disney extending the casting call to all brown people, Middle-Eastern, Indian, Pakistani, whatever? Like, Indians are not Middle Eastern. Pakistanis are not Middle Eastern. But to Disney, it feels like all brown people are the same?’

    They cast irish people as england, American people as Nigerian. So if they cast an indian person get over it and you just recommended An indian and two Pakistanis as Aladdin.

    • lolo86lf says:

      The flip side of what you are saying is Idris Elba being cast as James Bond. I would love to know what Ian Fleming would think of it if he was alive.

    • The Recluse says:

      And Gal Gadot is not Greek or Roman/Italian – that I know of, but she made an awesome Wonder Woman, so there’s that.

      • lolo86lf says:

        You forgot to mention that Wonder Woman is supposed to wear a red, white and blue costume not the outfit Gal Gadot wore in the movie. Blue eyes would have been a nice touch.

    • teacakes says:

      My gods, the false equivalences in here…

    • PIa says:

      I am ok with this casting process in this case. There can be Indians named Aladdin and Jasmine. People need to realize the borders which exists today did not for centuries beforehand. India was under Mughal rule for a long time, and the 1001 Arabian Nights from which Aladdin originates is a collection of stories from across the Middle East, South Asia and even East Asia! The originial Aladdin was a Uighyr (sp?) a minority group in western China/mid-Asia.

  4. smcollins says:

    Aladdin without Robin Williams doesn’t sound all that appealing to me. I’m sure Will Smith will do a great job, but there’s only one Genie. I do hope they give the casting of Aladdin & Jasmine it’s due diligence.

  5. Fiorucci says:

    Those people are all too old. Also riz ahmed doesn’t quite have the charm/sex appeal to me. They need someone who looks around 18-20 and is really cute, on the slender side. Not from Pakistan,from an Arab majority country in the Middle East. Im a big Aladdin fan! First and only favourite Disney movie

    • Senaber says:

      I agree- they are too old. It would be really interesting to see Riz play Jaffar though…

      ETA especially if he got into a rap battle with will smith’s genie! Ok now I need this to happen

    • Karen says:

      Yes. All too old to play a kid from the streets, a baby faced 26yo should be the maximum, but early 20s is best. And it should be someone of middle eastern roots. But then again Belle is French and had an English accent so Disney is not a stickler for realism.

      I just think it’s odd they chose Guy Ritchie for this one. Are they going to make it dark and gritty with street fighting?? Can he make a PG movie?

      • n'diye says:

        Agree, Guy Ritchie is a weird choice for director. Also seen people suggesting Rami Malek, but he’s also too old for the part (plus not right for the role either, imho).

      • third ginger says:

        Agree about Ritchie. Do they want Tarantino for THE LITTLE MERMAID?

      • Valois says:

        Don’t be silly, ginger. Tarantino was born to direct Mulan! He’s demonstrated that with Kill bill.

        I’ve heard Michael Bay’s free though…

      • third ginger says:

        Michael Bay! LOL

      • Marr says:

        @ Valois
        A+ on these suggestions! :D

  6. Fiorucci says:

    If zayn was middle eastern and could act…

  7. salmah says:

    Of your pics at the end of the article Dev Patel, Kumail Nanjiani and Riz Ahmed (especially those last two – Nanjiani is 39!) are way too old to play street urchin Aladdin. Dev is only 27, but, similar to Margot Robbie, he doesn’t play “younger” imo.

    I know the story is a mish-mash of a wide swathe of cultures, but I’ve mostly seen Bollywood and Pakistani names mentioned for Aladdin and Bollywood names for Jasmine. It wouldn’t hurt to have a few Middle Easterners in the mix, even if the role ultimately goes to a Bollywood fave. I’m Iraqi and my brother’s name is Allaeldein (Aladdin to the Western transcribers), so growing up Aladdin was one of our favorite films. So, selfishly I suppose, a bit of MENA representation in the shortlists would be nice.

    • Aoife says:

      Totally agree – Arab actors are also pretty scarce on American screens, so why not cast one in this role?

  8. Julie says:

    I bet they just don’t want someone with an accent.

    • Mia4s says:

      I commented above but I’d be surprised if that was it. They will want American/British accents yes, but they can mix it up considering Rogue One pulled in over a billion with Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, and others speaking in their native accents. The producers are morons if that’s the hold up.

      • Larelyn says:

        In the case of Rogue One, accents are acceptable because of an established Galaxy/precedent. Lucas pretty much cleared the way for accents as he continued to make the Star Wars movies for adults (and himself).

        Alladin, though, is a straight up Disney property that will be tailored to young families. “Wholesome” family entertainment from Disney tends to be white-washed, Americanized, or both. The casting call eliminates the former, so expect the latter.

    • GO says:

      I was just about to comment probably they want someone “not too brown” lmao

  9. Alexandria says:

    I actually think they might consider Zayn Malik.

    • Larelyn says:

      No. His drug problems make him a liability and could tarnish the brand. They are not seriously considering him.

      • Erinn says:

        I mean – they keep hiring Depp, and he’s a giant mess / criminal / liability, and Zayn would bring in a lot of 1D fans I’d assume.

  10. Char says:

    I liked the guy who played Aladdin on Once Upon a Time (Deniz Akdeniz), but I have no idea if he can sing, & since OUAT is run by ABC, which is owned by Disney, I’m guessing they would have already considered him, if he was a good option. He’s possibly a little too old, at 27, but I think he looks young enough with his hair longer & his parents are from Turkey.

    & while I agree with a PP that Aladdin doesn’t seem right without Robin Williams, I actually think Will Smith will be a good Genie.

  11. Nicole says:

    Yea it’s finding the triple threat. But umm Bollywood is filled with talent. Can’t they reach out to those that cast Bollywood films and tap their resources? They need to get this right. Aladdin is one of my favorites (movie and Broadway) as I grew up in the golden era for Disney

  12. eliza says:

    Rafael from Jane the Virgin always reminds me of Aladdin !

  13. Lynnie says:

    This explains why Disney decided to axe the singing for the live-action remake of Mulan (which I am dying to see!!).

    That being said, these remakes are getting incredibly boring now. The shock/wow appeal is lost to me now, and it just feels lazy. I felt slightly underwhelmed with Moana too. Is Disney losing it’s touch Princess wise?

    • vaultdweller101 says:

      Oh man. There will be no “I’ll make a man out of you” song over an extended training montage of plucky young recruits?????????????

      That is a tragedy.

      ITA about Moana, btw. I thought the movie was mediocre at best, though I’d hoped it was going to be awesome.

    • Erinn says:


      The songs from Mulan are some of my favorites from Disney. They’re SO good.

  14. teacakes says:

    Disney thinks they’re being clever, sneaking a Greek into the list of people still in the running (last I checked, Greece was not part of the Middle East) and deciding to expand the casting to South Asians (we are NOT Middle Eastern! ffs all cultures with brown people are not interchangeable, and this is not justified).

    I can’t believe the hypocrisy of people who railed against half-Arab Gigi Hadid getting the inaugural cover of Vogue Arabia because she’s not the right ‘kind’ of Arab, but let this pass because reasons. It’s just rude.

    • salmah says:

      I kind of get it, but I’m very wary about it.

      Greece isn’t in the middle east, but Cyprus, with its majority Greek speaking population, is. There are, also, plenty of partial Greek descent people in the middle East and sometimes Greeks are lumped with us Arabs (I’m Iraqi) in our corner as they have similar cuisine to us, a fair bit of cultural/societal/historic overlap and depending on how they look they can be considered “not European” (when I moved to the UK, for example, my family became friends with a family from Greece who were the victims of some terrible attacks because people thought they were Arabs or Indian).

      However, I saw that actor’s name and looked him up and he seems to be neither A) a Middle Easterner of partial Greek descent nor B) Cypriot but is instead an American with some Greek heritage, so I’d say a definite no. Anyway, I agree with you – someone with MENA heritage would be the best choice.

      • teacakes says:

        I’m alarmed that at this stage in the casting, not one of the names listed for casting as Aladdin or Jasmine is of MENA heritage. Not even a Cypriot, like you said.

        They’re about to pull the brown-people equivalent of Memoirs of a Geisha casting on us, and I want no part of it. I’m all for Asian representation in Hollywood, but not at the expense of actors of ME descent.

        And I don’t buy that it’s ok based on the possibility that some of the Arabian Nights stories were of Indian origin. I’m Indian myself and those stories have always been known and presented to us as being from Arabia/maybe Iran. And even with the fluid borders of previous empires, historically India and Iran have never been the same, even if there are aspects of the culture and conquests (food and linguistic influence included) in common.

      • salmah says:

        @teacakes Totally agree. Upthread I mentioned that it would be nice to have a MENA name somewhere on the list, even just in the shortlist to show that representation matters, but it is concerning that there have been no MENA actors mentioned and both fan-casts and industry rumours are either heavy on Bollywood picks or currently trending POC success stories such as Nanjiani and Ahmed who would both be hilariously miscast for this. But it seems MENAs will not even be getting a token mention in this, which is a shame.

    • sanders says:

      As a south asian, growing up in canada, I have been the recipient of some virulent racism over the years where I was mistaken for Iranian and Iraqi and called a camel. During the Iranian hostage crisis, I was told to go back to Iran and when the US invaded Iraq, I was told to go back to Iraq. I always assumed these individuals, in addition to being hate filled bullies, were just uninformed with regard to geography and culture. It appears this is a widespread problem in white north american society, found even in the hallowed halls of disney!!
      Also, let’s not forget that the indian men who were shot in Kansas were mistaken for middle eastern by their white assailant. This is a commonly held idea. European culture loves their color hierarchy so villains are always more villainy when they are darker. This ties into my next point. I took my niece to see Aladian when it first came out and I was appalled with the racism in the film. The villains were signified by darker skin, bigger noses and arabic accents whereas the protagonists were lighter skinned, more european features and american accents. Really gross. (ps. lets also remember that bollywood uses darker skinned actors for villains too) At the time the movie came out, arab americans did point all this out. I hope disney and guy ritchie correct all of the racist bull shit from the original.

      I too think they should be looking for a middle eastern actor. Still, interesting to think there may be a plus side for some south asian actor who may have had a similar experience to me, having played the surrogate, in absorbing the white supremacist hatred towards muslims and arabs.

      • teacakes says:

        WWII-era Chinese Americans used to get racist abuses from people who assumed they were Japanese, and Vincent Chin died because he was assumed to be Japanese.

        That doesn’t make it ok to treat Chinese and Japanese people as interchangeable when it comes to casting, just as South Asians being mistaken for Arab or Iranian and treated to the resultant abuse doesn’t justify Disney casting South Asians in Aladdin.

      • sanders says:

        Wow, your lecturing tone is misplaced and I think you missed my main point. Perhaps you didn’t read it carefully as it was a long post. What I said is that it’s unsurprising that hollywood would reach out to cast south asian actors when there exists a systemic discrimination of south asians based on the perception that they look like arabs. Within this white supremacist context, it is logical for them to cast south asians as arab. Analyzing and naming the dynamic is not the same as legitmizing it. Please re-read where I stated that they should cast middle eastern actors.

        I know you are Indain though I suspect that you have never spent a significant time in the west because if you had, you’d realize that racism manifests in complex ways, for both victims and perpetrators.

      • teacakes says:

        I merely countered the argument you cited as being the one likely used by Disney with an analogous example of why it’s still not acceptable, if you took offence at that then I’m afraid it’s not my problem.

        And incidentally, I have been mistaken for Arab in the past and ill-treated accordingly, and that doesn’t change my opinion that Disney’s logic (whatever it is) in expanding the search to South Asians is highly flawed alllooksame logic – exactly the kind employed in Memoirs of a Geisha (which is widely agreed to be an utter travesty casting-wise).

        I’ll also thank you not to make personal – and incorrect- assumptions about my experience as a South Asian, just as I don’t make any personal statements about yours.

      • sanders says:

        I would thank you to please stop reinterpreting and misinterpreting my points, particularly as you seem to have issues with reading comprehension. I still don’t understand why you are countering my argument which is the same as yours. Disney made a racist movie and continues to follow that path by conflating two distinct cultural groups. Please take your self-righteous venting elsewhere. And interesting that the most distressing thing to you is racist casting in a hollywood movie rather than racist violence towards south asians.

        If you do not want commentators to make comments about personal details that you have posted here, stop sharing.

  15. Danielle says:

    It’s important for the character that Aladdin is young. He makes me poor decisions, and if a 30 year old is behaving this way, he’s a dick. An naive 18 year old with no experience with girls plays better.

  16. third ginger says:

    If the call is extended, I vote Hasan Minaj. He’s adorable and funny!

  17. i dont know her says:

    after watching the American Wrestler: The Wizard 2016 – Theatrical Trailer I vote George Kosturos. Cute, good actor, and looks similar to the cartoon…, yeah I just said that.

  18. Cleo says:

    The only issue with Bollywood is that most of the young, talented male actors are in their 30s. Five years ago, Fawad Khan, Ranveer Singh, and even Ranbir Kapoor would have been great choices.

    At least they’re actually looking for someone of Asian/Middle Eastern descent. I was sure they would just end up casting a bunch of Mexican actors or something.

  19. Moon says:

    I heard Asian actress Emma stone is available, but only if her male costar is willing to take a pay cut for so she can be equal because she’s Asian.

  20. n'diye says:

    If this was 10 years ago, Golshifteh Farahani would have been a good choice for Jasmine. Today, maybe Medalion Rahimi if she can sing/dance.

  21. Cee says:

    IDK who the actor in the second photo is but he is HOT.
    Yeah, they should either stick with men of middle eastern descent or just go to the middle east and keep searching.

    • Cleo says:

      The guy in the patterned suit, if that’s who you’re referring to, is Riz Ahmed. And yep, he is painfully beautiful!

      • Cee says:

        Oooh, thanks! I will now furiously google him and find out if I can stream any of his work.

        EDIT: so apparently I’ve seen his work LOL My bad. He does change from character to character so I can imagine that besides being extremely attractive he is also a very good actor.

      • third ginger says:

        Good bet RIz will get an Emmy nom this week for THE NIGHT OF.

      • Cleo says:

        @ Cee
        Yeah, he’s very versatile. It took me forever to figure out that the pilot from “Rogue One” and Jake Gyllenhaal’s assistant in “Nightcrawler” were the same actor. He’s definitely made great career choices so far.

        @ Third Ginger
        I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s on my list!

  22. Bucketbot says:

    I see people talking about Bollywood actors in the shortlist and I dont see how. You’ll are looking for a thriple threat artist. The thing with bollywood talent is that while most can act and dance, barely anyone can sing. BW has song and dance films but the actors don’t sing. There are singers and music composers who work specifically on film projects.

    In BW, there are a couple who could fit the bill but one is old and the girl 30, but could pass for 22.

    • Cleo says:

      True, maybe they could dub? Emma Watson is no singer and she played Belle. *shrug* They should just go full Bollywood for it. Shreya Goshal (I think she’s performed in English before) singing “A Whole New World” would be life-affirming.

    • bolly1 says:

      Are you thinking of Shradda Kapoor?

    • Des says:

      Nah, Ranveer can sing about the same level as Emma Watson and his character in Ram Leela was basically a less PG-rated version of Aladin. Alia is 22 and can definitely sing better than Emma.

  23. detritus says:

    Is Jake Gyllenthal too old now? I hear he’s Persian…. ahahahahahaha oh man. nope.

    It shouldn’t be this hard if they are looking internationally, look harder dummies, and use different channels.

  24. woodstock_schulz says:

    I agree with those saying that Aladdin and Jasmine should be Middle Eastern actors, full stop. My family is from India and I’ve always understood the 1,000 tales stories to be of Middle Eastern origins.

  25. Jegede says:

    ” I hear noted Asian actress Scarlett Johansson has gotten a script too!” – LMAO. Love the burn.

  26. ArchieGoodwin says:


    The male lead has to be cast first, because chemistry is so important.

    F-off, Disney. Because of course, it’s down to the female lead to “fit” with the male, not vice versa. This kind of sexism is so disconcerting, because on the face of it, it sounds (almost) reasonable. But sexism it is.

    • Marr says:

      In all fairness, the movie IS called Alladin. Not Princess Jasmine…

      • Valois says:

        I think I have to agree with Marr on this one.
        Aladdin is the central character and he has to carry the movie. It makes sense that the rest of the cast (including Jasmine) depends on how well they interact with him.

        I really hope they applied the same logic to BATB, Cinderella and Mulan and made the heroine and who she has the most chemistry with a priority, not the other way around.

  27. Radley says:

    Can Zayn Malik act? We know he can sing. He’s also good looking. Send his @ss to acting class and get ‘er done. His fans would lose their minds. They’re still relatively young so you know they’ll go see it…twice.

    • maisie says:

      Someone else made the observation that Malik’s well-known drug use would probably disqualify him from playing the lead in what is essentially a Disney children’s movie.

  28. Amelie says:

    I love Kumail Nanjiani but he’s too old for the role and he is so funny (just the image of him dancing and singing as Prince Ali/Aladdin is hilarious), I’m not sure I would take him seriously as Aladdin haha.

    I’m not thrilled with the choice of Will Smith as the Genie. Robin Williams owned that voice role and while it will be tough to find anyone to replace him, it would be nice to find someone Middle Eastern for the role like they are doing for Jasmine and Aladdin.

  29. Miss b says:

    Fun fact: if you say “Ansel Elgort” quickly, you exactly replicate the sound of my cat horking up a hairball.

    • third ginger says:

      I died laughing at this. But get used to hearing it. Critics loved him in BABY DRIVER, and he is going to play the young JFK. I was stunned when a critic referred to him as “beautiful.” Then I read an article that listed him on “most punchable faces” Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. And no one can predict stardom.

      • I am bored says:

        I think he’s a cutie but I don’t know anything about him. Maybe he’s a jackass and that why people call him potato and want to punch him. Idk.

      • third ginger says:

        I am bored, He’s a very sought after actor right now. There’s just a division of opinion over his looks. I’m 64 and have seen them come and go for decades. There’s almost never a consensus on an actor’s looks. Maybe Paul Newman. Do you remember him?

  30. I am bored says:

    Zayn Malik.

  31. Littlestar says:

    How hard is it to find talent in India? Aren’t there like a billion people there? Seems like the usual cop out of “it’s hard to find qualified non-white applicants”. Yet they’ll always accept mediocre white applicants, 50% of Hollywood is just that.

  32. Dani says:

    Avan Jogia is perfect for this role!

  33. Alexandria says:

    Gigi as Jasmine I guess, if they want the tween and Instagram love. I think Remy Malik is suitable because he has a basic baby face. Just wipe off all facial hair onscreen.

    • lee says:

      Gigi can’t act for sh*t, though, going by her AMA duties.

      • Alexandria says:

        They would send her for intense classes and Jasmine is not a challenging role. Emma Watson is not exactly a strong actor either. Just a thought. I wonder if Nazanin Boniadi would take a crack at it, though she seems more like Jasmine’s older sister.