×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

First Look at Will Smith’s Genie in ‘Aladdin’ Remake

The first images of Will Smith as the Genie in the upcoming “Aladdin” remake have been revealed, along with a glimpse of Mena Massoud as the titular street urchin and Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine.

The three stars appear on the cover of Entertainment Weekly’s First Look issue in their Aladdin attire, with Smith donning a goatee, ponytail, and rocking a singular earring.

While the “Men in Black” star says while it was “terrifying” stepping into the 1992 role that Robin Williams made iconic, he’s confident he could give the Genie his own flair by tapping into past roles. One executive even described Smith’s Genie as “part Fresh Prince, part Hitch.”

“I think it’ll stand out as unique even in the Disney world,” Smith says. “There hasn’t been a lot of that hip-hop flavor in Disney history.”

For the Genie’s new look, director Guy Ritchie says he wanted Smith to have an imposing, but not overly buff appearance.

“I wanted a muscular 1970s dad,” he says. “He was big enough to feel like a force — not so muscular that he looked like he was counting his calories, but formidable enough to look like you knew when he was in the room.”

The director, known for crime thrillers like “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” also says that Smith’s updated Genie is more self-aware, while having a bit of an ego. He teased that in the film, when Smith first appears out of the lamp and sees a stunned Aladdin, he asks, “You really don’t know who I am? Genie…wishes…lamp? None of that ringing a bell? Wow, that’s a first.”

Massoud says to prepare for his role, he had to learn how to sing, dance, and perform stunts like riding a camel and scuba diving, for a scene when Aladdin gets thrown off a cliff. Ritchie also says Scott’s Jasmine will be revamped with new ideals to make her “a more rounded character and maybe not being such a stereotype of the time.” Jasmine also gets her own song, which is among the new tracks with lyrics from the “La La Land” songwriters to accompany the original numbers.

And besides her pet tiger Rajah, Jasmine’s partner-in-crime will be Dalia, a newly created character portrayed by “Saturday Night Live” alum Nasim Pedrad. Dalia’s presence also reflects the different values the updated Jasmine has from the original role.

“Jasmine is so resilient and independent in this version, she’s focused on things other than which boy she’s going to end up with,” Pedrad says. “She really wants to be a leader, and Dalia really supports that but at the same time wants to make sure she doesn’t get in trouble.”

The first looks have divided some fans, with many criticizing Smith and Massoud’s appearance.

“What could Will Smith possibly have done to deserve this? Jada is gonna have to do a whole episode of ‘Read [sic] Table Talk’ about this hair piece,” BuzzFeed News’ Saeed Jones wrote, referencing Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her Facebook Watch talk series.

Another said “they did Aladdin dirty” by straightening Massoud’s naturally curly hair.

However, Smith took to Instagram to calm fans’ worries and clarified that while he’s not blue on the cover, he would be in the film. “This is how the Genie is in Human / Disguise Form,” Smith wrote. “My character will be CGI most of the movie.”

Smith also celebrated Ritchie’s modernized, offbeat take on the classic animated picture.

“When you think timeless Disney classic, you’re not really thinking Guy Ritchie,” Smith tells EW. “But he brings a beautiful edge to the look and feel and imagining of Aladdin.”

“Aladdin,” also starring Marwan Kenzari as Jafar and Billy Magnussen in a freshly created role, flies into theaters May 24, 2019.

More Film

  • 'Sibyl' Review: Justine Triet's Witty, Slinky

    Cannes Film Review: 'Sibyl'

    How often do we see a movie psychotherapist who’s actually good at their job? Genre film is peppered with on-screen couch doctors whose unorthodox methods or blatant non-professionalism keep the story rolling, whether they’re falling in love with clients or going steadily mad themselves. Played with smart, subtle verve by Virginie Efira, the title character [...]

  • Akira

    Taika Waititi's 'Akira' to Face Off Against 'John Wick 4' in 2021

    Warner Bros. has dated its live-action “Akira” movie, directed by Taika Waititi and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, for May 21, 2021, when it will face off against “John Wick 4.” The studio announced the date on Friday, two days after pushing the release of “DC Super Pets” back a year, avoiding opening against “John Wick [...]

  • Sylvester Stallone

    Cannes: Sylvester Stallone Says 'Rambo' Wasn't 'Meant to Be a Political Statement'

    The final day of Cannes was devoted to honoring Sylvester Stallone, who conducted a masterclass on the Croisette, where he looked back at his 43-year career and discussed how he never intended “Rambo” to get so political. Thousands queued outside the Salle Debussy to sit down with the star and gave him a raucous standing [...]

  • Women in Animation, Les Femmes s’Animent

    Women in Animation, Les Femmes s’Animent Announce World Summit Lineup

      CANNES–Women in Animation (WIA) and Les Femmes s’Animent (LFA) have announced the program lineup and initial list of speakers for the third Women in Animation World Summit, which will take place June 10 in conjunction with the Annecy Intl. Animation Festival and Mifa. The summit will feature a day-long symposium of panels and discussions [...]

  • Chloe Sevigny Podcast

    Chloë Sevigny on That Time Bill Murray Took Her for a Joyride in a Cop Car

    If there’s one thing Bill Murray’s co-stars can depend on, it’s that the comedic actor will give them a good time. Just ask Chloë Sevigny and Adam Driver, who play fellow police officers opposite Murray in Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy “The Dead Don’t Die.” “He brought us on a joyride in a cop car,” Sevigny [...]

  • 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Pushed Back Due

    'Sonic the Hedgehog' Movie Pushed Back to 2020 Due to Character Design Changes

    Paramount Pictures is pushing its “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie back three months, from Nov. 8 to Valentine’s Day. The delay follows fan criticism over the appearance and design of the titular blue hedgehog — particularly his teeth and lean legs. Director Jeff Fowler tweeted that it was “taking a little more time to make Sonic [...]

  • Aladdin

    Box Office: 'Aladdin' Flies to $7 Million on Thursday Night

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” flew to $7 million during Thursday night previews in North America. That’s well above the $5.7 million that “Pokemon Detective Pikachu” earned two weeks ago on its way to a $54 million three-day opening. Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” took in $5.5 million in previews on the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content