Back in October, we reported that filmmaker Guy Ritchie has signed on to direct Disney's live-action Aladdin remake. While no story details have been confirmed, the original report claimed that this remake will retain several musical elements, although the story will be told through a non-linear approach. While those details were never officially confirmed by the studio yet, the director himself confirmed that this new project will be a musical. Here's what he had to say, while promoting his new film King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword.
"It'd be tough not to make it a musical. It's too early, because I've really just immersed myself into that project. So I'm still looking for cast members, we still haven't found exactly which direction we're going in. I'm confident that at some stage it will reveal itself to me, but right now it's just a bit too premature."
As far as cast members go, a report from April surfaced that revealed Will Smith was being courted to play the Genie, although another report added that Disney actually reached out to comedy superstar Kevin Hart before Will Smith. There was talk that Kevin Hart was being approached to play Jaffar's bird Iago in the movie, but as of now, no one has officially come on board at this time. Disney hasn't issued a release date, but a recent report claimed that filming is starting soon.
A casting call that surfaced in March revealed casting was under way for Princess Jasmine and the title character roles in this live-action remake, with production slated to begin this coming July. The casting process is still under way, but nothing is set in stone quite yet. The casting call specifies Middle Eastern characters may be a sigh of relief for some, following the "whitewashing" controversy that swirled around The Great Wall and the recent adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. Producer Dan Lin stated in a recent interview that the studio and director Guy Ritchie wanted to stay true to these characters.
Guy Ritchie is directing from a script by John August with Dan Lin producing through his Lin Pictures company. While there isn't a release date in place at this time, it's possible the studio could be aiming for either a late 2018 release, or a spring 2019 release, which would fall in line with the release of several of their live-action adaptations, such as Cinderella and next week's Beauty and the Beast, which both debut in mid-March.
Disney was previously developing an Aladdin prequel entitled Genies, with the studio bringing aboard writers Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (Friday the 13th) to write the screenplay for what was said to be a "live-action comedy adventure." This story was said to take fans inside the realm of these magical Genies, centering on how Aladdin's particular genie becomes enslaved in this lamp. Now that this live-action remake is under way, it isn't known if that prequel project is still in development, or if it is currently dead. Take a look at Nerdist's interview with Guy Ritchie, with the Aladdin talk coming at the 17:40 mark.