Will Smith is in talks to take on the role of the Genie in Disney’s live-action Aladdin.
According to Deadline, the actor, last seen in the critically disliked fantasy Collateral Beauty, could be following in the footsteps of Robin Williams with the comic role in Guy Ritchie’s adaptation. The film will be the latest of the company’s increasing set of live-action takes of their successful animated films.
Smith was in negotiations to take on a role in Tim Burton’s Dumbo but the deal failed to work out. Ritchie’s Aladdin will start shooting this summer in the UK and Disney is reportedly seeking unknown actors for the lead roles and there will be no whitewashing with producer Dan Lin suggesting the film will have a “diverse” cast.
According to Sean Bailey, head of motion picture production at Disney, the film will be a “highly energized” musical. This year has already seen the studio celebrating global success for Beauty and the Beast, with the film earning over $1bn worldwide. As well as Dumbo and Aladdin, the studio also has plans to remake Mulan, Peter Pan, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas.
Ritchie’s next film, a fresh take on King Arthur, will be released next month. Smith will next be seen in Bright, a Netflix thriller about a cop partnered with an orc.