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Disney is making it a point to be culturally sensitive with its choice of who will play Aladdin in its live-action remake, but the search is proving harder than expected.
The studio and Aladdin director Guy Ritchie put out a global casting call in March, specifically looking for Middle Eastern and Indian actors.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is having trouble “finding a male lead in his 20s who can act and sing,” even after four months of looking.
Twitter users have calmly questioned how this statement can be true when there are plenty of eligible actors in India.
*googles "Bollywood"* https://t.co/TVn98AYbjg— Jason Carlin (@the2scoops) July 12, 2017
They have also kindly made many casting suggestions.
Priyanka Chopra as Princess Jasmine and Dev Patel as Aladdin would have the whole world shooK! pic.twitter.com/uDh03KE5QL— Black Bill Gates. (@WrittenByTerry) July 11, 2017
how is disney having trouble casting Alladin when Avan Jogia was literally born for the role???— ㅤDamian Alonso (@thedamianalonso) July 12, 2017
the man can sing, dance, AND act! pic.twitter.com/2ilMFlq1Md
The list of recommendations includes Fawad Khan, who actually played a prince in the 2014 Disney film Khoobsurat.
If this man is not a prince, then no man is. And yes, I take it very personally that Fawad isn't already the Alladin. NOT COOL Disney. pic.twitter.com/XiUBWRVsJ4— Aishwarya S (@Hyper_aice) July 12, 2017
Some have questioned whether the choice of an Indian actor would even be appropriate, since the film is based on a Middle Eastern folk tale.
Stop. Suggesting. Desi. Actors. Aladdin. Isn't. Desi. https://t.co/qT750cb1YW— Janani (@TheShrinkette) July 12, 2017
THE MAIN LEADS SHOULD BE MIDDLE EASTERN SINCE IT'S A ME/ARABIAN FANTASY. YOU CAN'T JUST PICK ANYONE BC THEY ARE BROWN https://t.co/ubNgp1k5Tb— Angel K (@AvidReaderBlog) July 12, 2017
THE. CHARACTERS. ARE. NOT. INDIANS https://t.co/ZjPzQztOfZ— victoria (@daredoevil) July 12, 2017
Actually, in the earliest versions of the story, Aladdin is from China.
But as some people are saying, at least Disney is trying to do the right thing—at this point. The voice actors of Jasmine and Aladdin in the original 1992 cartoon were white, by the way.
nice of disney to pretend to look for a brown aladdin before eventually casting ryan gosling— Rega Jha (@RegaJha) July 12, 2017
Half expecting this cast:— Mahwash Ajaz (@mahwashajaz_) July 12, 2017
Ryan Gosling as Aladdin
Jennifer Lawrence as Jasmine
Tim Curry as Jafar https://t.co/L5TivqO9C1
Chris Pratt as Aladdin and Emma Stone as Jasmine there that wasn't so hard https://t.co/qbzdmw3A4f— #Persist (@MadamClinton) July 12, 2017
Disney expressed interest in Dev Patel (Lion, Slumdog Millionaire) and Riz Ahmed (Rogue One, A Star Wars Story), according to the Hollywood Reporter, but the role could also go to a Hollywood newbie. Naomi Scott from Power Rangers and Indian actress Tara Sutaria are being considered to play Jasmine, but final decisions won’t be made until a male lead is found. Will Smith has been discussed for the role of Genie.
Due to the casting delays, filming for Aladdin is now scheduled to start in August.
Kris Seavers is the Evening Editor for the Daily Dot, where she covers breaking news, politics, and LGBTQ issues. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.