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MOVIES: Aladdin - News Roundup *Updated 12th September 2017*

12th September 2017 - Release Date Swapped with Star Wars: Episode IX

Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin in 3D takes the place of the untitled Disney fairy tale pic. It was originally scheduled for Dec. 20, 2019, but now takes Star Wars: Episode IX’s old spot of May 24.

6th September 2017 - First BTS Photo

6th September 2017 - Navid Negahban to Play the Sultan

Homeland actor Navid Negahban has signed on to play the Sultan in Disney’s hotly anticipated live-action Aladdin redo, currently shooting in London with Guy Ritchie at the helm. Negahban rounds out the cast, joining Will Smith as the Genie, Mena Massoud in the titular role of Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Sultan’s daughter Princess Jasmine, Marwan Kenzari as Jafar, Nasim Pedrad as Dalia, Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders (potential husband for Princess Jasmine), and Numan Acar as Hakim.

5th September 2017 - Billy Magnussen Joins Cast

Disney’s live-action Aladdin movie has cast Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders, a newly created character, EW has confirmed.

The 32-year-old actor, who previously portrayed Rapunzel’s Prince in Disney’s Into the Woods, joins an ensemble that includes Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, Marwan Kenzari as Jafar, and Will Smith as the Genie. More details about Magnussen’s character have yet to emerge.

21st August 2017 - Numan Acar Joins Cast

Numan Acar has been cast in Disney’s live-action Aladdin remake, which is being directed by Guy Ritchie. He’s joining Will Smith as Genie as well as Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott, in the roles of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, respectively.

Written by John August (Big Fish), the adaptation is based on the 1992 animated classic and follows the story of Aladdin, who finds a magic lamp and the bigger-than-life genie that grants him three wishes. Acar will play Hakim, the head of the guards and Jafar’s right-hand man.

4th August 2017 - Marwan Kenzari in Negotiations to Play Jafar; Nasim Pedrad Joins Cast

Marwan Kenzari, the actor who is poised to breakthrough as part of the all-star cast of the upcoming Murder on the Orient Express, is in negotiations to star as the villain in Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin.

At the same time, former Saturday Night Live comedienne Nasim Pedrad has landed a role created specifically for the new movie.

If a deal makes, Kenzari will play Jafar, the vizier to the sultan of the city who wants to use the genie for his own nefarious plan of taking power. The character is in the pantheon of the most recognizable Disney villains and was voiced by Jonathan Freeman in the animated movie.

Pedrad will land the role of Mara, the handmaiden and friend to Jasmine. The part is described as a comedic supporting role.

July 15th 2017 - Mena Massoud Cast as Aladdin & Naomi Scott as Jasmine

July 11th 2017 - Shooting Delayed Amidst Casting Troubles

The studio and Aladdin director Guy Ritchie launched a global casting call in March to find the stars for the musical based on the hit 1992 animated film about a street kid who teams with a genie to woo the princess Jasmine. Disney, Ritchie and casting director Randi Hiller brought on casting agents around the world, from London to Egypt to Abu Dhabi and India, for what sources say is a massive global search: Around 2,000 actors and actresses have read for the lead roles of Jasmine and Aladdin.

But 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 animated film is set in the fictional Middle Eastern city of Agrabah). The original casting call specified that production was slated to begin by July, but the search has dragged on, with Disney and Ritchie having to go back to the drawing board multiple times. Sources say there have been several rounds of tests in London, with the actors coming in for up to two weeks at a time. “The test process was a mess,” says one agent with a client who tested.

While the studio had interest in Dev Patel, 27, and Riz Ahmed, 34, the male lead will likely be a newcomer. Sources say the studio is eyeing Power Rangers actress Naomi Scott, 24, or Indian actress Tara Sutaria, 21, to play Jasmine, but can’t lock the deal until the male lead has been selected since chemistry is so important to the story. (Will Smith is signed on to play the Genie, and sources say the studio is after known names for the role of the villain Jafar).

Among the newcomers who were still in the running for the riffraff/street rat in the most recent rounds of testing were Dutch actor Achraf Koutet, Canadian actor Mena Massoud and American George Kosturos.

As the search has dragged on (sources say the filmmakers went back to dig through the tapes once again when the most recent round of testing did not go well), the studio has brought on two movie-musical veterans to consult on the project: Marc Platt, who has a strong background in producing musicals and worked on Disney’s upcoming Mary Poppins Returns; and Chris Montan, a longtime executive music producer for Disney’s animated project such as Pocahontas, Toy Story, Hercules and Frozen.

With shooting for Aladdin now planned to start in August, Disney may have to use all three of its wishes to find its diamond in the rough

19th April 2017 - Will Smith in Early Talks to Play Genie

Will Smith is in talks to take on the genie role made famous by the late Robin Williams in Disney’s live-action Aladdin from Guy Ritchie, we hear. The adaptation of the animated feature follows the studio’s strategy of bringing its classic animated titles to life and so far it has been a goldmine, most recently with Beauty and the Beast which has already grossed over $1B worldwide. Smith had previously been in talks with Tim Burton about Dumbo but that did not materialize and we’re told these talks are also early.

Like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin will be a live-action musical and that would fit well with Smith who is not only an actor but was known to the world for his musical prowess as The Fresh Prince rapper before he hit the little or big screen. The production is gearing up for a long, six-month shoot, so that is one consideration. It is supposed to start in the U.K. in July and wrap early next year.

9th March 2017 - Casting Calls for Aladdin and Jasmine Revealed

24th February 2017 - Early Production Dates Revealed

According to sources, the film is currently looking to enter production July 2017. Ending sometime in January 2018.

10th October 2016 - Live-Action Film in Development with Guy Richie to Direct

Guy Ritchie, the stylistic director behind the Robert Downey Jr.-starring Sherlock Holmes movies, is in negotiations to helm Disney’s live-action adaptation of its 1992 animated classic Aladdin.

Dan Lin, who was a producer on the Holmes movies for Warner Bros., is producing what Disney says will be an ambitious and nontraditional take on Aladdin via his Lin Pictures banner. Jonathan Eirich will executive produce the movie and oversee it for Lin Pictures.

John August wrote the script for the live-action version, which sources say will keep many of the musical elements of the original. Still to be determined is the approach to the Genie, which to this day remains closely associated with Williams' singular and defining performance.

Also part of the nontraditional aspect of the project is the studio's intent to make it nonlinear, a move right out of the Ritchie playbook. The helmer made his name directing snappy crime thrillers such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch that used that kind of storytelling. He last directed The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and is in postproduction on King Arthur, Warners’ upcoming take on the Camelot legend.

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