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Will Smith Takes on Role of Genie!

Updated on March 14, 2019

I remember when my daughter was a little girl and how excited she was to watch Disney's 'Aladdin'. It was a cartoon version of the tale, that took the audience into a magical, mystical and exotic romp through the Middle East.

I remember the genie being played by Robin Williams, a comic genius if ever there was one, now sadly departed and sadly missed. To a large degree, it was Williams who made the movie, though of course, that's not to rule out the participation of the other actors who added to the film.

At the time, my daughter's mother was an English woman of Pakistani descent, which somehow made the film more poignant for me. When the movie was on, it seemed my flat had the allure of the Middle East when we as a family, sat down to watch the film.

Now I see Disney is doing a remake of the original cartoon movie from the '90s. From the trailer, it seems the new film has captured all the characters and theme of the original to a tee.

Will Smith, probably the biggest star in the film, plays the blue genie. Certainly, Smith will have had his work cut out for him following in Robin William's footsteps. Certain roles, when played by great actors, are perhaps best left alone and certainly, many Robin Williams fans may be thinking just that.

While Smith may not be Williams, it seems Smith is bringing his own unique blend of humour and entertainment to the role. It seems many of the actors playing the main parts, may be unknown to many moviegoers, though of course, I could be wrong.

Mena Massoud plays the lead, Aladdin, Naomi Scott plays Princess Jasmine, with Marwan Kenzani as the Sultans sneaky advisor, Jafar.

It would also seem, Disney has gone for a more diverse cast, trying to reflect the fact, that the romp is set in the Middle East. Although some Pantomimes would have you believe Aladdin is apparently set in China! In which case, surely the actors should look oriental?

As with all movies these days, when it comes to ethnicity, particularly when they are set in certain areas of the world, as this movie is, there has been some controversy The extras appearing in the movie appear to be European-American actors who have 'browned up' for the role. The argument doing the rounds on Twitter is that why didn't Disney choose Arab, Asian or Mediterranean looking actors for the role, instead of fair-skinned actors?

This is indeed a fair point, Hollywood these days is trying to be more diverse in the actors playing certain roles, understandably so. However, certain movies still get through the ethnicity of actors playing ethnic roles, for example, Jonny Depp playing Tonto in the 'The Lone Ranger' movie from a few years ago. While having ethnic actors to play ethnic roles is laudable, are we going to get to a stage where white actors will be mostly squeezed out?

For example, the 'Fantastic 4' movie, made a number of years ago, the part of 'Torch', was played by a black actor, when it was originally a white part. The same could be said for male/female roles, 'Captain Marvel', once a man, is now played by a female actor. Then the controversy of Bond being offered to Idris Elba keeps cropping up on social media and elsewhere. I have nothing against female/ethnic actors playing roles, in fact, I welcome them, however, when that role has traditionally been a white/male role simply putting an ethnic or female actor in that role, just to be pc isn't on. If the movie industry feels ethnic and female actors are not represented enough than create new roles for them instead of tinkering around in the examples I have just given.

The Middle East, where this version of Aladdin is set, is quite diverse anyway. Yes, the majority of folk in the Middle East are dark skinned, brown eyed and dark haired, that said, as with the Mediterranean nations, there are exceptions. You will see many Middle Eastern people (most of whom are Caucasian) with fair skin, light hair and even blue eyes, just google it if you don't believe me.

Anyway back to the movie, I am sure this remake, unlike other Disney remakes one could mention, should be a box office hit.

Will Smith: Profile.

Born 25 September 1968

Actor and Rapper.

Starred in 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'.

Starred in many high grossing box office smashes.

Known for his 'MIB' series of movies.

Has had a successful career in music.

Many of his movies have grossed $100 million.

'Forbes' said he was the most bankable actor.

A philanthropist giving his wealth to many Christian charities.

Latest role-playing the blue genie in Aladdin remake.


Most famous offspring, Jayden Smith.

Politically he is a Democrat and supported Barack Obama.


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