Disney’s live-action remake of their classic animated film “Aladdin” might have finally found its villain. Marwan Kenzari (“The Mummy”) is in talks to play the evil Jafar, according to MSN. The Dutch-Tunisian rising star featured in the recent “The Mummy” and “Ben-Hur,” and is set to appear in Kenneth Branagh’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” a remake out later this year.
“Aladdin” will star Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott (“Power Rangers”), and Will Smith (“Concussion”) as Aladdin, Jasmine and the Genie. In other casting news, Nasim Pedrad (“Saturday Night Live”) is set to play Mara, a handmaid to Princess Jasmine. Mara is a new character who fills the role of comical best friend, which Pedrad has easily pull off from her years of experience at SNL. Guy Ritchie (“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”) will be directing the remake, which was written by John August (“Big Fish”).
— Jenny Yang???? (@jennyyangtv) July 11, 2017
Casting for the Disney film has been incredibly rocky, as Ritchie found himself in hot water after claiming he couldn’t find the right actor to play the lead character. Fans of color immediately pointed out Bollywood, the world of talented dancing and singing Middle Eastern actors, y’know, exists. Soon after the flub, Ritchie and Disney hastily announced their Aladdin pick, Massoud. Here’s hoping that the film’s casting process is not representative of the future film.
No word yet on when “Aladdin” will premiere.