After the success of the Beauty and the Beast live action film featuring the beautiful Emma Watson, Disney has set its eyes on the next series of animated films to convert to a live film. One of them is Aladdin.
Aladdin live action will reportedly start filming this summer. Casting and auditions have actually started, according to Screen Rant. Additionally, director Guy Ritchie notes that they will make it a point to give the film an “authentic voice.”
Speaking at the Playback Podcast, Ritchie clarifies the fans’ concerns about the film possibly getting “white-washed.”
Aladdin is a movie about a peddler in the fictional sultanate of Agrabah. The setting of the story is ideally located in the Middle East. With references and aesthetic mimicked on the Middle Eastern culture, fans worry that the production team will use white actors to play the lead.
Variety reported that Aladdin is already on a “tightrope” since it has been criticized for having “derogatory Arab stereotypes.” Aside from the white-washing issue, Ritchie will have to pull off a balanced representation of the community and align it with the film’s plot.
Ritchie said that there are already existing challenges in creating the film. The Sherlock Holmes director said that the production is “highly energized.”
“Decency is decency. Humanity is humanity. I think the film will dictate exactly what the tone is supposed to be and who’s supposed to be in it. You just don’t want to feel like you’re muscled into it, because you’re bullied into it. It will be what it will be, because it should be what it should be. It will have its own authentic voice.”
Aside from the sensitivities in representing Aladdin’s culture, director Guy Ritchie is still keen in making his own mark on the Disney staple. He said that he did not think of the project as “dusty or unexciting.”
“To me I fancy the challenge of — a bit like ‘Sherlock Holmes’ — I thought, ‘Oh, I’m familiar with that. I think I can do something with that.”
Whether Ritchie’s vision on Aladdin will impress the fans or not, only time will tell.
As for Disney, they have put their trust on the director to steer this film forward. According to Vulture, Sean Bailey, the Motion Picture Production President at Walt Disney Studios, said he has spoken with Ritchie in the past about the possibility of them working on a Disney movie. Bailey said that Ritchie’s film process and genre which focuses more on “street hustlers” is quite similar to the theme of Aladdin.
“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.”
Aside from Ritchie’s impressive portfolio, Bailey added that they are aware of the opinions surrounding the film.
“We’ll make sure we still spend a lot of time talking about the contract with the audience is on that particular title. We’re going to have to deliver certain things in ‘Aladdin.'”
Disney has already lined up the other live-action films they will produce in the next few years. Some of the films include Mulan to be directed by Niki Caro, and Jon Favreau’s The Lion King.
Bailey said Disney is trying to achieve and maintain consistency with the quality of their live-action films.
“Consistency is certainly something that you want. Thankfully, due to Lucas, Marvel, Disney Animation, Pixar, Disney, we feel pretty good about having a lot of stories and a lot of characters.”
[Feature Image by Joseph M. Arseneau/Shutterstock]