A months-long search to cast Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin has hit a snag, as the studio is apparently having trouble casting stars for the movie.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, director Guy Ritchie and the studio launched a global casting call back in March. So far, 2,000 actors have read for the parts of Aladdin and Jasmine.
But here’s where the situation gets a bit...dubious. THR reports that “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 studio reportedly has considered Riz Ahmed and Dev Patel for the role of Aladdin, while Power Rangers actress Naomi Scott (whose mother is of Indian descent), and Indian actress Tara Sutaria are in the running to play Jasmine. However, THR says the studio will likely turn to a “newcomer” for Aladdin. In fact:
Sources say the filmmakers went back to dig through the tapes once again when the most recent round of testing did not go well.
HRRRRMMMMM. If only there were a subcontinent, maybe with say, over a billion people, that also had a booming international film industry—one that was known for musicals!
As my colleague Isha Aran pointed out to me in less than 10 seconds, Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor certainly seem to fit the bill.
For the unfamiliar, here’s Singh getting turnt:
And Kapoor looking FAHN as all get-out:
And you really mean to tell me this man can’t be your Prince Ali?
Granted, Ahmed, Singh, and Kapoor are in their 30s—which may work against them, as the studio has expressed a desire to cast a 20-something to play the teenage Aladdin. Patel, meanwhile, may not have the singing and dancing chops. That didn’t stop Emma Watson from being cast in Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, however, and the most you can say about her singing is that it’s adequate.
Will Smith has already been slated to play the Genie, while the role of Jafar is being shopped to “known names” (it’s definitely going to be Johnny Depp, isn’t it).
Look, we get that Aladdin and Jasmine are iconic characters, and finding the right pair is essential. Still, the studio insisting that, out of more than a billion inhabitants of earth who are of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent, they can’t find anyone who serves up musical chops and dramatic acting abilities? Sound more than a little suss to us.