Working the internet like it was something Uncle Walt had sketched out at his trademark drawing table, Disney Studios unveiled its big live-action Aladdin casting announcement at the company’s biennial D23 Expo this weekend.
Canadian actor Mena Massoud, who has a few TV credits, will play the title character, Disney said July 15 in Anaheim, California. As had been rumored, the more widely known English actress Naomi Scott will portray his love Princess Jasmine. It was already pretty much out that American action star Will Smith will be the Genie, a role voiced brilliantly by the late Robin Williams in the 1992 animated blockbuster.
Still, nothing is simple when it comes to Aladdin. The casting of Scott especially made some fans upset on the racial and ethnic grounds that have featured within a long-simmering debate. A magic lantern to wish away all the resultant noise might come in handy for the studio—if Disney really minded it at all.