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Will Smith in Talks to Play the Genie in Disney's Upcoming Live-Action 'Aladdin'
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20 Apr 2017 03:19 PM EST

-by Trista McKenzie, Contributing Writer; Image: Will Smith (Image Source: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

Disney is continuing to remake their classic cartoons as live-action blockbusters—and of course, Aladdin is on the list.

While the film is still in its early stages, with a worldwide casting search for its two leads, Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, currently underway, Guy Ritchie has already signed on to direct. Still, no other big names have been linked to the production, until now.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Will Smith is in early talks to take on the role of the Genie in the live-action adaptation. The role was originally voiced by the late Robin Williams in the 1992 animated film.

Previously, Smith was in talks with Tim Burton to join the cast of a live-action Dumbo film, but a deal was never made due to scheduling, as Smith was hoping to juggle Dumbo and Bad Boys 3. Now that Bad Boys 3 has been postponed after losing its director, Smith's schedule is much more open. Still, he requires a high-salary, making an Aladdin deal uncertain.

For those unfamiliar with the plot, Aladdin tells the story of a young "street rat" who discovers a magical lamp containing a genie, who offers him three wishes. Through his adventure, he falls in love with a princess and faces the evil sorcerer, Jafar, who seeks the lamp as well as power over the fictional Middle-Eastern city of Agrabah.

Aladdin was previously brought to life on Broadway in 2011, though there were many noticeable differences between the cartoon and the stage version. Iconic characters Abu the monkey and Rajah the tiger were left out of the stage production and replaced, respectively, by Aladdin's three partners, Babkak, Omar, and Kassim, and Jasmine's handmaidens. Additional songs written for the movie but left out were also added to the stage version.

It is not known if the live-action movie will follow the animated film or stage adaptation more closely, though judging from past Disney live-action remakes, they will most likely stick to the cartoon script for nostalgia's sake. Still, Disney says the remake is set to be "an ambitious and nontraditional take on Aladdin," according to THR.

Dan Lin (Sherlock Holmes) is set to produce under his Lin Pictures banner, while Jonathan Eirich will executive produce the movie and oversee it for Lin Pictures.

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