Disney builds buzz with superheroes, 'Star Wars' and 'Mary Poppins'

Mena Massoud

Newcomer Massoud was announced in the starring role, while English actress and singer Naomi Scott will play Princess Jasmine. The Genie will be played by Will Smith, while the role of villainous Jafar has yet to be cast.

Earlier this week, the studio had shared that they were facing trouble finalising the lead pair for the film.

Ritchie had been having a hard time finding a relatively fresh face for Aladdin, who also looked Middle-Eastern. Massoud is an Egyptian-Canadian actor while Scott is half Indian, half British. Hardy shut down reports he'd play the character after the controversy, so Guy Ritchie may have to go back to the drawing board if he thought Hardy would jump on board. Many names including Dev Patel, Riz Ahmed, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone were bandied about on social media in connection with the cast. Many were afraid Disney would whitewash Aladdin, especially after white actors were hired to portray people of color in other movies like The Great Wall and Doctor Strange.

Just days after rumours of casting difficulties surfaced, Disney has finally told us who will be staying "one jump ahead of the breadline" in the upcoming live action remake of the classic film.

Disney also confirmed production on a live-action version of Mulan has begun but did not offer further details. Naomi recently appeared as Kimberly in the Power Rangers movie.

John August, whose credits include "Big Fish, ' has written the new 'Aladdin" script.

No release date for the "Aladdin" reboot has been announced.

Set in the Arabian city of Agrabah, the story focuses on a street boy who manages to free a genie from a lamp and is granted three wishes.

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