Aladdin images

A fresh batch of new Aladdin images have come out of the Cave of Wonders, giving us our first look at Will Smith‘s Genie and Naomi Scott‘s Princess Jasmine. We also get a closer look at the titular street rat himself, played by Mena Massoud, who is rocking a whole lot more vests than the partially shirtless animated version of Aladdin.

Entertainment Weekly has debuted two new images from Guy Ritchie‘s Aladdin as part of their cover story on the highly anticipated live-action remake. The magazine gives us our first look at Will Smith as the Genie, taking on the role after Robin Williams made the character so iconic. The first thing we notice: he’s not blue. The second: check out that top knot…braid?

Will Smith’s Genie is “Part Fresh Prince, Part Hitch”

Smith couldn’t hope to outdo Williams’ bombastic take on the character, so his version will bring a little of “that hip-hop flavor” to the role in a depiction that a Disney executive describes to EW as “part Fresh Prince, part Hitch” — two of Smith’s most beloved roles.

“The great thing about the role of the Genie is that it’s essentially a hyperbole for who that individual actor is, so it’s a wonderful platform and tapestry for an actor to fill his boots on,” director Guy Ritchie says, which is what allowed Smith to inject some of his own persona to the character — who hopefully will still be blue, as the final version of the character isn’t quite finished yet, EW reports. That being said, Ritchie’s description of what he intends Genie to look like is…interesting, to say the least. “I wanted a muscular 1970s dad,” the director says, adding:

“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.”

But Smith hopes that audiences will embrace his version as both homage and original take:

“I started to feel confident that I could deliver something that was an homage to Robin Williams but was musically different. Just the flavor of the character would be different enough and unique enough that it would be in a different lane, versus trying to compete.”

A More Modern Whole New World and Jasmine

Both Jasmine and the fictional country of Agrabah are getting a modern makeover with Ritchie’s Aladdin. The Agrabah in Ritchie’s film is a “slightly broader world, a hybrid world,” the director says. This includes characters of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent on screen, with some 500 extras of diverse backgrounds filling the streets of Agrabah.

Production designer Gemma Jackson drew inspiration from Moroccan, Persian, and Turkish cultures, Victorian paintings, and Iznik ceramics to craft the setting while Ritchie was aided by “an army of cultural advisers” on set. But Ritchie keeps insisting in the article that Aladdin, which is a story steeped in Arabic culture and pulls principally from the prominent Middle Eastern folktale collection One Thousand and One Nights, is “principally a human challenge rather than an ethnic one.” Whatever that means.

But Scott’s Jasmine will get a more modern twist as well, with a female friend and handmaiden in the form of Saturday Night Live alum Nasim Pedrad and a personality that reflects present-day ideals to make her “a more rounded character and maybe not being such a stereotype of the time,” Ritchie says. Scott adds:

“Jasmine’s main objective at the beginning is to really protect her people and to do right by them. She definitely isn’t a finished article at the beginning of the movie, but she has this beautiful arc and progression, and she goes from asking for what she wants to just taking it, and displaying that she is a leader.”

EW also debuted a few more Aladdin images, including a first look at Pedrad’s handmaiden Dalia and the evil hot Jafar played by Marwan Kenzari. Oh and there’s a picture of Abu, the little scene-stealer!

As for the title character played by Massoud, we don’t learn much more of him in this article, other than the great rapport he immediately established with Smith. But I’m sure we’ll learn more in the months up to the May 24, 2019 release of Aladdin.

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