They are: Dumbo, which aired last March; Aladdin, released this week; and The Lion King, which will follow in July. All of these films are worth the wait. Because each animated version was very successful. However, specifically for Aladdin, the film with the background of the story of 1,001 Nights, aka Arabian Nights, is indeed the most hotly discussed. And sparked controversy. To be precise, since the production process started two years ago.
As director, Disney appointed Guy Ritchie. Which, usually, gush crime-themed thriller films. Of course, being trusted to work on the film Aladdin is quite surprising for him. Because they have to deal with strange things. Such as magic carpet, princess, genie, etc.
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However, even so, the half-century-old director remains optimistic: That his Aladdin musical film will live up to fans’ expectations. According to Ritchie, his experience in the previous films will make this film project feel fresh. However, without reducing the element of nostalgia.
After finding a director, another challenge for Disney was finding the cast. According to producer Dan Lin, Aladdin will not repeat the mistakes of previous Middle Eastern-themed films. Most notably, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010).
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Despite being set in the Middle East, the film, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton, is all white. As a result, the first direct harvest of criticism. Because it is considered a whitewashing effort. Alias forced Caucasian cast to play characters who were not their race.
Disney also took 4.5 months to find the main character Aladdin. In fact, unmitigated, they held an open casting on a global scale. Starting from England, Egypt, to Arabic and India.
About two thousand actors and actresses from across the country are fighting over the roles of Aladdin and the royal princess who becomes his girlfriend: Jasmine. The condition is not only handsome or beautiful. Disney wanted a cast that was of Middle Eastern descent. The 20 year old. Who can act and sing at the same time. Because this is a fantasy film with a musical flavor.
These conditions, it turns out, are difficult to fulfill. In fact, the casting process has been delayed from estimation. Up to two or three months. According to a talent agent, at that time, almost every two weeks there were calls for reading and testing.
Until, finally, on the second day of the D23 Expo in Anaheim (on July 15, 2017), Disney announced that it had found the main character Aladdin. Namely: Mena Massoud. Meanwhile, Naomi Scott is lined up as Jasmine and Will Smith as Genie. And, not to forget, Marwan Kenzari as the villain Jafar. The evil one.
Mena Massoud, who is arguably not yet famous, was unexpectedly able to beat a fan favorite candidate who was far more famous. Call it star Slumdog Millionaire (2008) Dev Patel and star Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) Riz Ahmed.
In fact, Mena Massoud, who is of Egyptian and Canadian descent, is not a runny actor. He has experience starring in various TV series since 2011. In fact, the man who was born in Cairo, 17 September 1992, has already made his debut at the age of 19. As extras. In the Nikita series. Aired by The CW.