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Disney Eyes Will Smith for Genie Role in Guy Ritchie’s Live-Action ‘Aladdin’

Disney / Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images
Disney / Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images

Get your Prince Ali mash-up memes ready because Will Smith might be taking on the role of the charismatic Genie in Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin. The studio was previously in talks with Smith to play the villain role in Tim Burton’s live-action Dumbo movie, and although those discussions ultimately fell apart, it looks like Disney might be able to land the actor for a part in another one of their many, many, many live-action remakes.

Smith may not have been interested in playing the bad guy in Tim Burton’s Dumbo movie, but that’s okay because Disney has like 800 other live-action remakes in the works with any number of roles to choose from. Surely, the artist formerly known as the Fresh Prince will find something he likes buried in the studio’s development pile (which is, I assume, a monstrous assortment of VHS tapes collected from some intern’s childhood home).

According to Deadline, that something might be Guy Ritchie’s live-action reimagining of Aladdin, based on Disney’s classic animated film from 1992. Smith is currently in talks to play Genie, the role made iconic by the late, great Robin Williams. Like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin will retain the musical element of the original film, which means we might get to see a giant, mo-capped, CGI version of Will Smith singing and dancing his way through the fictional Arabian city of Agrabah — which is not at all a terrifying mental image. (It’s doubtful, however, that we’ll get to hear Smith’s rendition of “Friend Like Me,” a song that Williams completely owned in the 1992 version.)

The combo of Ritchie and Smith-as-Genie in a live-action remake of Aladdin sounds like it could be delightful or, at the very least, a thoroughly entertaining crap-show. If nothing else, maybe Disney is doing us all a favor and trying to trick Will Smith into resuming his eponymous rap theme song career — everyone knows that even the worst movie is automatically improved by playing a rap theme song over the end-credits. It’s just common sense.

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