After it was reported that Naomi Scott has been tapped to star as Princess Jasmine in the live-action remake of "Aladdin," many have not stopped buzzing about the English actress' casting.
At the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California last Saturday, July 15, Walt Disney Studios production president Sean Bailey announced that Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud will be playing the titular Aladdin and Scott will be playing Princess Jasmine. Will Smith was previously cast as the wish-granting Genie, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Disney is still currently searching for an actor to play the villain, Jafar.
However, not everyone is happy with Scott's casting. While no one is questioning her talent, many fans are quite disappointed because she is British and Indian, not Middle Eastern.
In the past, Disney made it clear that the popular Arab folktale "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp" would be turned into a live-action feature film with a full Middle Eastern cast. Producer Dan Lin also assured that the movie set in the Middle East would not be completely full of white individuals.
"I'm very fortunate working in Hollywood; I am diverse," the Taiwan-born American film producer said in an interview with Collider, adding, "So when I came in to make the movie, I wanted to make a diverse version of the movie. Luckily for me, Guy Ritchie has the same vision and Disney has the same vision, so we're not here to make 'Prince of Persia.' We want to make a movie that's authentic to that world."
Nonetheless, the live-action adaptation will reportedly retain the musical elements of the 1992 film. It will be directed by Guy Ritchie based on the script penned by John August.
"Aladdin" does not have an official release date yet, but is speculated to arrive sometime in 2018. The live-action movie is set to begin shooting in London this August.