While fans are used to the larger-than-life blue Genie from Disney’s 1992 animated classic Aladdin, many were somewhat disappointed to see the image of actor Will Smith in character in a recent post. As reported by ET Online, Smith — who will portray the character of Genie — also featured a full goatee and a topknot in the image.
Smith shared the image to Instagram, captioning it, “BAM!! First look at the Genie, Princess Jasmine, and #Aladdin! Check Me Rockin’ the Top Knot Ponytail Vibes in @entertainmentweekly.”
He also made sure to reassure fans that they wouldn’t have to say goodbye to the Robin Williams version of the character, adding, “(and yes, I’m gonna be BLUE! :-) )” to the end of the caption.
Smith recently opened up about his nerves at having to fill Williams’ vast shoes in taking on the role of Genie.
“I was terrified doing the Genie after Robin Williams,” Smith admitted in November. “But I found a lane that pays homage. It is my own thing, you know? So I think people are going to love it.”
The remake of the popular animated film is being directed by Guy Ritchie, who also shared his vision of the Genie for the new movie — explaining that he wanted him to have a “muscular 1970’s dad” look.
“He was big enough to feel like a force — not so muscular that he looked like he was counting his calories, but formidable enough to look like you knew when he was in the room.”
Aside from the Genie, who seems to have taken center stage in the image on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, both Jasmine (played by Naomi Scott) and Aladdin (played by Mena Massoud) are also in costume. Scott stuns in a gorgeous aquamarine, gold, and tan. She is wearing decidedly more clothing than the animated Jasmine did in 1992, with her midriff being covered. Being the princess that she is, she is — of course — also wearing an ornate crown, and other jewelry.
Scott has spoken on this “role of a lifetime,” saying that as a child “having a Disney princess that looked something like me, I think, was really powerful.”
And Massoud seems to have the original Aladdin’s look down pat in the image. Wearing a black and white striped collared shirt, a short-sleeved red vest, and a deep purple hat — as well as Aladdin’s signature cheeky grin — it seems that Disney would have been hard pressed to cast that role any better.
The leading man has also praised the film, and shared the joy he feels at being part of the project.
“I’m really proud to be in a film that represents so many visible and ethnically different cultures.”