After a week of controversy over who Disney might cast in its planned live-action version of Aladdin, the studio announced it has found its wish-maker.
“Aladdin will be played by a young actor named Mena Massoud,” Walt Disney Studios production president Sean Bailey announced at the D23 Expo on Saturday. “Jasmine will be played by Naomi Scott.”
Massoud, who costars on Amazon’s Jack Ryan TV series, was raised in Canada but was born in Egypt. Scott, who is British and whose mother is from northern India, most recently starred in the Power Rangers reboot and has also appeared in The 33, the Disney Channel original movie Lemonade Mouth, and the Fox series Terra Nova.
As previously announced, “the amazing Genie will be played by the equally amazing Will Smith,” Bailey said.
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Sherlock Holmes filmmaker Guy Ritchie is directing the film, which Bailey said draws influences for its city of Agrabah will draw from global influences, including the Middle East, India, and even China. Not only will the 1992 animated movie be a major influence, but the screenplay will go back to the classic Arabic folktales of One Thousand And One Nights.
He also confirmed a few other live-action projects. “Dwayne Johnson is possibly the busiest man in show business right now. Indeed it is true we are working together on a Disney inspired project called Jungle Cruise.”