Disney is having trouble casting the leads for the live action remake of Aladdin, according to the Hollywood Reporter. On Tuesday, the popular site reported that Disney had originally wanted actor Dev Patel for the lead role of Aladdin, but they haven’t managed to land a deal with him. Now, casting directors are looking into other possible options and may even hire a newcomer to take on the role.
“Finding a male lead in his 20s who can act and sing has proven difficult — especially since the studio wants someone of Middle-Eastern or Indian descent (the animated film is set in the fictional Middle Eastern city of Agrabah),” The Hollywood Reporter writes.
The following actors are supposed frontrunners for the role: Dutch actor Achraf Koutet, Canadian actor Mena Massoud, and American actor George Kosturos (who is of Greek decent). Disney will cast Princess Jasmine after they find their Aladdin, as the two will need to read together to see if they have chemistry. Potential actresses for the role include Naomi Scott, of Power Rangers, and Indian actress Tara Sutaria.
After reading the report, several social media users have voiced their opinions on who they’d like to see take on the role of Aladdin — and who they don’t want to see. There seems to be a lot of debate on the ethnicity of the character, who many feel should be Arab and not Indian. Check out some of the tweets below.
The only name that seems to be a sure thing thus far is Will Smith. The actor is slated to take on the Genie. The role comes with big shoes to fill as the late great Robin Williams was the voice of the original 1992 film.
The live-action version of Aladdin will likely be released in late 2018 or early 2019. Filming is expected to get under way later this year, once a cast is secured.