Production is officially underway on Disney's live-action Aladdin, and Will Smith celebrated the monumental occasion with a cast selfie. This is the first time we've seen the principal cast together, so it's a very big deal.
In July, Disney announced that Egypt-born actor Mena Massoud would take on the titular role of the charming street hustler, while Power Rangers star Naomi Scott would play Jasmine. And after months of rumors, it was finally confirmed that Smith would lend his comedic (and musical) talents to the beloved role of Genie. Marwan Kenzari joined the cast as the villainous Jafar in August.
Directed by Guy Ritchie, Disney's live-action Aladdin will be influenced by both the 1992 animated classic and the original folktale, "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp," from One Thousand And One Nights. As for the fictional city of Agrabah, the multicultural setting will draw from global influences, including the "Middle East, India, and China," which is in line with the story's cultural origins.
So, no, Aladdin won't be a shot-for-shot remake of the animated film you can probably recite word-for-word. In fact, Disney recently announced that Billy Magnussen would join the cast as newly created character Prince Anders, one of the suitors vying for Princess Jasmine's hand in marriage.
In addition to new recordings of your favorite Aladdin songs, fans can also expect two new timeless tunes written by famed Disney composer Alan Menken and Oscar and Tony Award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
Aladdin is currently in production in London, and an official release date has not yet been set.