When people first heard that Aladdin was going to be turned into live action, people were excited. No wonder, the animation successfully stole the heart of many and the theme song performed by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle became one of the best classics of all time.
But the controversy started as early as the casting process where they claimed to have been facing problems trying to find the right people to play Aladdin and Princess Jasmine. The animation originally was set in a country with Indian culture. The team allegedly has auditioned 2,000 people and finally chose Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud as Jasmine and Aladdin.
Jafar is supposed to be this scary advisor of the Sultan, yet, the trailer shows just another handsome guy clad in black robe. He’s supposed to sound and look like a snake, but what I could see was just his peer lacking emotion and motivation to be evil. At least, I’d like to see him try hard and be convincing.
Great. They had trouble looking for the main casts who can sing and act well (and obviously, naturally pleasant to look at). Now, they want to say they have problems in finding extras?
Realistically, you don’t get to choose your stunts and animal handlers – they can be white and even Chinese (I hope not). Safety first. But Kaushal Odedra, who played an extra in the movie, saw more than 20 fair-skinned actors in line to get their skin powdered.
The spokesperson of Disney defended themselves, “Great care was taken to put together one of the largest, most diverse casts ever seen on screen. Diversity of our cast and background performers was a requirement and only in a handful of instances when it was a matter of specialty skills, safety and control (special effects rigs, stunt performers and handling of animals) were crew made up to blend in.”
We can never know the truth in full and the use of brown powder itself isn’t wrong. But it’d certainly be pissing you off to know they’d go with a white cast for extra rather than finding someone who actually look like it. Like Prince Anders, who is completely white and non-existent in the animation.