Exclusive Look At The Art and Making of Disney’s Aladdin

We have an exclusive look at photos and details for Aladdin thanks to Disney and Insight Editions’ The Art and Making of Aladdin. The soon to be released book provides a behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s upcoming live-action remake and star Mena Massoud who’s playing Aladdin. The film is currently in the midst of its marketing campaign as anticipation builds for the summer release.

Aladdin is the next live-action re-imagining of a classic animated movie to come from Disney, and fans of the original are hoping to see it do justice to the beloved 1992 film. The difficulty that can come with these remakes, though, is figuring out how much nostalgia to lean on to stay true to the previous versions of the film, while also adding to the story and characters when possible. For Aladdin, it is up to director Guy Ritchie to bring the popular characters and beautiful visuals to life once again. To do this, Ritchie and Disney brought Will Smith aboard as a rapping Genie and cast Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott as Aladdin and Jasmine, respectively.

Related: Why Aladdin’s Full Trailer Is So Much Better Than The Teaser

Screen Rant can now exclusively debut two pages from Disney and Insight Editions’ The Art and Making of Aladdin which highlight Massoud’s portrayal of the titular street rat and the immaculate set design for the Sultan’s palace. The book is written by Emily Zelmer and, as you’ll see, is filled with wonderful imagery and stories. The first image showcases Massoud’s Aladdin, but also includes quotes from him and producer Jonathan Eirich on the casting process and the updated version of the character. The second image shares several new looks at the set for Sultan’s palace. Check out the two spreads from The Art and Making of Aladdin below.

Everything You Need to Know About Mena Massoud’s Aladdin

An Exclusive Look at Sultan’s Palace in Live-Action Aladdin

With the detailed looks that these two spreads provide, The Art and Making of Aladdin is going to be a must have for fans of the upcoming movie. The full book features more images straight from the magical movie and new details about the development and production. Special looks at Smith’s Genie and new characters like Nasim Pedrad’s Dalia are included too, along with more in-depth features on them.

The book also features exclusive interviews with Ritchie about his adaptation, as well as legendary composer Alan Menken and La La Land lyrcists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who wrote original songs for the live-action movie. Interested parties can pre-order the book now for $45.00 and begin diving in to the content when it is released on April 30, 2019, or you can wait a few weeks and purchase it after seeing the new movie, which hits theaters on May 24, 2019. With the stunning visuals on display in these images though, The Art and Making of Aladdin should satisfy anyone looking for more Aladdin related content.

MORE: All the Live-Action Disney Remakes In Development

Source: Insight Editions

2019-04-15 03:04:31

Cooper Hood

Aladdin CinemaCon Footage Description: Will Smith’s Genie Sings (And Raps)

Disney’s CinemaCon presentation included updates and teasers for many upcoming movies – including a five-minute clip from Aladdin in which our hero enters the Cave of Wonders and meets Will Smith’s Genie. Directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott as young lovebirds Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, Aladdin is the latest live-action remake of Disney’s animated classics, with The Lion King also still to come this year.

The marketing for Aladdin has so far been troubled by controversy and skepticism, and perhaps no aspect of it has attracted more skepticism than the Genie. Smith has the unenviable task of stepping into the curly-toed shoes of the character originally voiced by the late Robin Williams – a role that includes recreating classic songs like the Genie’s introductory number, “Friend Like Me.” We saw a glimpse of this song in the full-length trailer for Aladdin, but CinemaCon audiences got to see exactly how it has been updated for the 2019 version of the movie.

Related: Lion King CinemaCon Footage Description: Life Lessons With Mufasa

The CinemaCon footage opened with a shortened version of Aladdin’s introduction to, and exploration of, the Cave of Wonders. Jafar (played by Marwan Kenzari) promises to make Aladdin “wealthy beyond [his] wildest imagination” once he retrieves the lamp, but warns him not to touch any of the other treasures. As in the original movie, Aladdin’s pet monkey Abu doesn’t heed this morning, and lands them both in trouble. That’s when Aladdin rubs the magic lamp and the Genie bursts forth – at first putting on a deep and scary voice and addressing Aladdin as “great one who summons me,” before assuring Aladdin that he’s just kidding and launching into “Friend Like Me.”

Though not everyone who was in attendance was won over by the footage (one critic described it on Twitter as “pure nightmare fuel“) others praised it for its visual flair and creativity. “Friend Like Me” is more or less the same as in the original, except with a few extra lyrics, rap moments (the Genie even boasts about his rapping skills in the song), and a bit of Smith beatboxing. Like a lot of Disney’s “live-action” remakes, this was a very CGI-heavy sequence, but it may be lively enough to win the skeptics over.

Most of Disney’s live-action remakes have so far proven to be major hits, but this past weekend Dumbo proved that a movie cannot thrive on nostalgia alone. The Tim Burton-directed update of Disney’s 1941 classic scored a relatively meagre $45 million box office in its opening weekend (for comparison’s sake, Beauty and the Beast‘s opening weekend was $174 million). So, while all-out flops from Disney are rare these days, Aladdin is nonetheless one of the studio’s biggest box office risks of the year.

In addition to this clip from Aladdin, Disney’s CinemaCon presentation also included a brand new clip from the hotly-anticipated sequel Avengers: Endgame, and confirmation of the studio’s entire 2019 movie slate. This now includes Fox titles like Dark Phoenix and New Mutants. There are four live-action remakes in total releasing this year – Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil – and many more still on the way.

More: All The Live-Action Disney Remakes In Development

2019-04-03 06:04:32

Hannah Shaw-Williams

Aladdin Character Posters Spotlight Main Characters, Non-Blue Genie

Disney has released a set of new Aladdin character posters that feature Will Smith’s Genie in his human (read: non-giant and blue) form. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the live-action film is based on Disney’s animated 1992 movie and features Mena Massoud as the street urchin Aladdin, Power Rangers‘ Naomi Scott as the Arabian princess Jasmine, and Marwan Kenzari as the Sultan’s scheming advisor Jafar, who wants to use the Genie and his magical lamp to take control of Agrabah.

The animated Aladdin was based on the Middle Eastern fairy tale from the One Thousand and One Nights story collection, and was an important part of Disney’s creative and commercial renaissance in the ’90s. Unsurprisingly, it’s now getting a remake, as part of the Mouse House’s trend of re-imagining their animated classics with modern CGI and live-action. So far, however, the live-action versions of characters like Aladdin and Jafar have gotten pretty mixed reactions… though, none more so than Smith as the Genie.

Related: Disney’s Aladdin (1992) Pitch Meeting

The Genie was famously voiced by Robin Williams in the animated Aladdin and was presented as being a magical blue-skinned being with a penchant for spontaneous celebrity impersonations (a direct result of Williams’ ad-libbing and improv during his voice recording sessions). In Ritchie’s retelling, Smith’s Genie has blue skin in his natural giant form, but frequently disguises himself as an ordinary human, presumably in an effort to keep his identity secret from everyone but Aladdin. You can check out Genie’s human form in the character posters below.

Reactions to the first footage of Smith’s Genie in his blue form were largely negative, and with good reason. The visual effect was clearly unfinished when Disney unveiled it, and was noticeably improved in the full Aladdin trailer that released a month afterwards. Naturally, opinions remain varied when it comes to Smith’s appearance(s) as the Genie and the costumes pictured here, many of which are modeled after the characters’ outfits from the animated film. The live-action Beauty and the Beast remake drew similarly divided responses, when it came to the film’s original costume designs versus those lifted straight from Disney’s animated version.

So far, however, most people seem satisfied with the main characters’ animal sidekicks in the Aladdin remake. As seen in these posters, Jafar’s parrot Iago, Aladdin’s monkey Abu, and Jasmine’s tiger Rajah are all part of the film and are presented as photorealistic creatures, much like the animals in The Jungle Book remake and this summer’s The Lion King re-imagining. Iago will also talk in the remake, with Alan Tudyk taking over from Gilbert Gottfried (who voiced the villainous bird in the animated Aladdin and its sequels).

MORE: Aladdin: Biggest Differences Between the Animated & Live-Action Film (So Far)

Source: Disney

2019-03-28 10:03:58

Sandy Schaefer

Disney’s Aladdin (1992) Pitch Meeting: Say Hello to Sort-Of Prince Ali

In the latest episode of our ongoing series, Screen Rant’s Ryan George reveals what (probably) happened in the pitch meeting for Disney’s 1992 animated classic, Aladdin. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker and featuring unforgettable songs by Disney legend Alan Menken, Aladdin is the tale of a street rat, his pet monkey, a magic lamp, and a creepy old guy who wants to marry a 15 year-old girl.

While it’s dated in the ways you’d expect a movie from almost three decades ago to be dated (complaints from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in led to Disney changing the song lyrics “Where they cut off your ear/If they don’t like your face“), Aladdin is still considered to be one of the all-time greats from the Disney Renaissance… which naturally means it’s now getting a remake. The movie was originally based on a classic Middle Eastern folk tale, and one of the best-known tales from the One Thousand and One Nights collection.

Related: Frozen Pitch Meeting

Of course, Disney wanted to update the story a little bit for modern audiences, so Robin Williams was cast in the role of Genie and incorporated a quick-fire litany of impressions to keep the adults entertained – including Jack Nicholson, William F. Buckley, Jr., Rodney Dangerfield, and Groucho Marx. It remains to be seen whether Will Smith’s Genie will do similar impressions of modern celebrities (possibly Vine or YouTube stars) that will feel similarly dated in 30 years’ time.

As you might expect of an adaptation of an older movie packed with stereotypes of the Middle East, Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin remake has been plagued with controversies – from putting white extras in brownface, to replacing the snooty Prince Achmed with a white Prince played by Billy Magnussen, to casting British-Indian actress Naomi Scott as an Arab princess. Then there were the decidedly mixed responses to the first look at Will Smith as the Genie in his full, blue, CGI glory.

Still, if history has taught us anything, it’s that betting against a Disney movie (especially one of Disney’s live-action remakes) making lots and lots of money is a bad idea. With Tim Burton’s Dumbo projected to blow up the box office this weekend, it seems that nostalgia is still a powerful tool for drawing both adults and kids into theaters. And with Aladdin promising to include not only songs from the original movie, but also brand new songs written for the remake, we can probably expect to be enchanted all over again.

More: All The Live-Action Disney Remakes In Development

2019-03-28 05:03:31

Hannah Shaw-Williams

5 Reasons We’re Excited For Aladdin (And 5 Reasons We’re Worried)

Disney continues to pump out new live-action remakes of their animated classics. After Dumbo, the next film to come out is Aladdin. For many, the original Aladdin is a classic. Robin William’s performance as the Genie is iconic. The songs are unforgettable. It’s arguably among the top Disney films ever made.

So any prospect of a remake is cause for alarm. Thankfully, there are reasons many think Guy Ritchie’s new Aladdin might be worth watching. On the other hand, there are others who think it might be dead on arrival. In the interest of fairness, it’s time to break down the evidence. There are many reasons Guy Ritchie’s live-action Aladdin might be a diamond in the rough, but just as many why it could be street trash.

RELATED: All The Live-Action Disney Remakes In Development

10 (Excited) More Aladdin Content

Aladdin has consistently been one of the few Disney properties to have spin-off material worth watching. The Aladdin animated series and sequels are among the few that somewhat endure the test of time. While Return of Jafar is nothing special, Aladdin and the King of Thieves deservedly has its fair share of fans.

RELATED: 10 Things We Know So Far From The Latest Aladdin Trailer

While the live-action Aladdin isn’t in the same continuity as any of those properties, it does serve as new content for a fandom that has been starved since the ’90s.

9 (Worried) Unnecessary Expansion

Many live-action Disney films expand the plots of their respective films in order to fill the running time. It is inevitable that the new film will add material that was not present in the original film. Entire songs and characters have been added to the plot — elements that were not needed in the original film.

While these may be creative and entertaining new elements, they may just exist as filler to complicate a plot that worked incredibly well without it.

8 (Excited) Agrabah Coming To Life

Agrabah is one of the most well-developed worlds in Disney’s body of work. The city feels alive in every frame of Aladdin, its sequels, and its television spin-off. Fans of the original will finally get to see the city recreated in live-action.

RELATED: Disney’s Live-Action Aladdin Casts Alan Tudyk to Voice Iago

This will only help the animated city feel more vibrant and alive. It has the potential to be nothing short of sublime.

7 (Worried) Disney’s Live-Action Track Record

That being said, many of Disney’s prior films have been less than magical. While they have their fans and make lots of money, many have left fans of the original disappointed.

Of particular note is Beauty and the Beast, which many fans felt was just a superficial retelling that muddied the original story’s point while also just following the beats of the original with none of the soul. Aladdin might look beautiful, but it’s possible it may come across as a soulless copy of a film we already have.

6 (Excited) Guy Ritchie’s Directing Style

Guy Ritchie is one of the most unique directors around. His films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch are noteworthy for their irreverence and style. His adaptations of Sherlock Holmes and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. are entertaining films — even if their success wasn’t always even.

RELATED: Aladdin: Biggest Differences Between The Live-Action & Animated Movies (So Far)

Sure, Ritchie has had failures — most notably his King Arthur film — but he has entertained more often than bored. Why should his Aladdin be anything short of a good time?

5 (Worried) Color-ism And White Washing

This is where things get a little ugly.

Aladdin is very noticeably a film that takes place in a Middle Eastern nation. The original film doesn’t have any character of European descent. However, this new film will introduce a white prince played by Billy Magnussen — a completely new character who had no place in the original story. To make matters even more complicated, there are numerous white extras added to scenes, which, it sounds, takes away from the authenticity of this place rather than add to it. To make matters more complicated, many have accused the filmmakers of colorism by casting Naomi Scott, a half-Indian actress, to play the Arabic Princess Jasmine.

Each of these criticisms on their own are concerning, but when you take all of them into account, it leaves a bad feeling in the pit of their stomach that the filmmakers just don’t really care about authentic casting.

4 (Excited) Alan Menken And The Music

The film will be a musical, and original songwriter Alan Menken is returning to add new songs to his original masterful soundtrack. Aladdin has one of the most beloved soundtracks in cinema history, with its countless songs becoming childhood favorites for almost every kid who grew up during the ’90s.

RELATED: All The Live-Action Disney Remakes In Development

Even if the rest of the movie is awful, at least the music will be incredible — especially considering Will Smith’s background in music. But we’ll get to Will Smith later.

3 (Worried) Jafar

Jafar is one of Disney’s greatest villains. A megalomaniac with grand ambitions, Jafar stood as an unforgettable bad guy with a terrific and evil laugh, as well as a serpentine design that could only be created in the medium of animation.

While the film has yet to come out, Jafar so far looks… unassuming. While the trailers show that Aladdin and Jasmine look competent enough in their roles, Jafar’s look and voice feels too drastically different from the Jafar in the original film. He seems too soft-spoken, too normal looking. It’s highly possible that Marwan Kenzari steals the show in the end. However, the trailers have yet to really inspire much confidence yet.

2 (Excited) Will Smith

Will Smith is one of the most entertaining actors to ever live. He breathes life into films that are otherwise unimpressive. He remains one of the few bright spots in films like Suicide Squad and Bright.

RELATED: Aladdin: Why Will Smith’s Blue Genie Looks So Bad In Live-Action

While no one can out-shine the late Robin Williams, Will Smith seems to be doing his own thing as the Genie in this newest trailer, so it’s highly possible that his personal charm may offer audiences some entertainment in the film.


1 (Worried) The Genie

It is undeniable that the Genie has become the main topic of conversation whenever anyone brings up this film. Mostly negative. The CGI looks off-putting. It feels very uncanny valley. A character like the Genie just lends itself so well to the world of animation that, when brought to the real-world, feels very out of place.

But to make matters worse… let’s just address the elephant in the room: no one can replace Robin Williams. While Dan Castellaneta and Jim Meskimen have done admirable jobs trying to take on the role, Robin Williams cannot be replaced. The CGI and out-of-placeness of the character might be tolerable if it was Robin Williams’s voice coming out of that iconic character’s lips. But it just isn’t.

Will Smith might be entertaining in the film — may be the highlight of the film. But he won’t be playing the Genie. The Genie has died, and nothing Disney does can ever bring him back.

NEXT: 10 Things We Know So Far From The Aladdin Trailers

2019-03-18 03:03:33

Anthony Gramuglia

Aladdin: Why Will Smith’s Genie Isn’t Blue Yet (And Why That’s OK)

The sneak peek at Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin reveals a distinct lack of blue in the new design for the Genie, but that’s no surprise – nor is it a bad thing. As The Walt Disney Company continue their recent and highly profitable trend of live-action remakes of their animated classics, it seemed inevitable that 1992’s Aladdin would receive the same treatment. The film, directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, was a key part of the Disney Renaissance of the ‘90s and was the highest-grossing film of its year. Its soundtrack won Grammys and Oscars, the film’s more joke-driven comedic approach, as defined by star Robin Williams, sent Disney in a new creative direction, and the property has found new life in the passing decades through straight-to-video sequels and a Tony Award-winning Broadway adaptation. Given the mighty success of 2017’s remake of Beauty and the Beast and the inevitable juggernaut that will be The Lion King, Aladdin was always going to join the live-action remake ranks.

Entertainment Weekly’s first look at Aladdin, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Will Smith as the Genie, reveals some key changes to the highly distinctive style of the animated film. Chiefly, the Genie is no longer blue. Given how these Disney remakes tend to be slavishly devoted to recreating every minute detail of the original animated films, this feels like an interesting deviation from the material. Aside from a lavish costume – blue, of course – and new hair and beard, the Genie is still distinctly Will Smith. And that may be the point.

Related: Aladdin Teaser Trailer Breakdown: 8 Hidden Secrets & Live-Action Reveals

Stylistically, the look of the Genie in these images, and indeed the costuming in general, seems to have more in common with the Broadway show than the film. There, the lack of blue makes sense from a practicality stand-point in terms of stage work; even Disney doesn’t have the budgets of provisions to mount eight shows a week with a high-tech version of the Genie. Of course, on film, one would think they’d be keener to lean into the technological aspect for a live-action remake. Part of the appeal of these films is supposed to be translating what could previously only be done in animation to live-action glory, after all. However, that’s not what Will Smith’s Genie is about, at least not yet.

So, yes, Will Smith will be blue at some point in the film. The actor took to Instagram to reaffirm that he is “gonna be BLUE” in the film, with EW suggesting the effects were simply not done. Neither elaborated further on whether he would be blue throughout or just in certain scenes. It could be that Ritchie and Disney haven’t nailed down the post-production CGI yet for the character and are still working on it or they may be saving it for a big reveal (perhaps when Jafar gains control of the Genie, he turns blue under his evil command).

What that means is that this is more about getting Smith’s face out there than it is showcasing the full extent of Aladdin‘s Genie character, which has obvious advantages. Will Smith has had a bumpy few years with some notable flops to his name but he’s still one of the biggest stars on the planet. He’s a bona fide A-Lister whose international clout has not diminished all that much in the interim decades he’s been a Hollywood star. And he’s just what Aladdin needs.

So far, this is a film Disney may have trouble selling even to nostalgic masses: the inclusion of white actor Billie Magnussen in a key role as well as the choice to hire a non-Middle Eastern Anglo Indian actress, Naomi Scott, to play Princess Jasmine, have caused much controversy, as has the decision to hire white extras and apply brown make-up to them, something Disney tried to explain by claiming it only happened “in a handful of instances.” More fundamentally, the choice of Guy Ritchie for the film’s director proved puzzling to many. Out of all the Disney live-action remakes on their roster, Aladdin feels like the least secure bet. Because of that, Disney will want to do what they can to ensure its success, and having one of the biggest celebrities on the planet, one who is universally adored and has a history of making big bucks at the box office, is its own form of insurance. Getting him out in just a basic costume can be enough.

Will Smith is at his best when he is allowed to be effervescent in his charisma. His most beloved performances are from films where he’s been given free rein to crack one-liners and dominate the screen with his goofy action man physicality. In that sense, he feels like a natural fit for the Genie, a part that was such an open stage for its original star, Robin Williams, to be himself. So much of Aladdin as a whole rests on the Genie, so Smith will have his work cut out. The lack of blue could be the least of his worries.

Next: All The Live-Action Disney Remakes In Development

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2018-12-19 02:12:41