Rumours about the cast of the new Aladdin live action film have been flying around like magic carpets.
Now, much to the delight of Disney fans everywhere, the Fairy Godmother of Film (aka Disney’s annual D23 expo) has finally confirmed who will be playing Ali, Princess Jasmine, and Genie.
Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud, who has previously appeared in Jack Ryan and Open Heart, will be taking on the rags-to-riches role of the films’s eponymous character.
Massoud took to Twitter to share his pride in playing the character writing, ‘So honoured and grateful for the opportunity to help bring this magical story to life once again.
“Let's get to work!’
British actress Naomi Scott will be joining Mena as leading lady (and unapologetically feminist) Princess Jasmine, having already starred as the pink ranger in the Power Rangers reboot earlier this year.
So excited to be a part of this adventure! This is gonna be fun :) https://t.co/fFpkkEg2kR— Naomi Scott (@NaomiScott) July 15, 2017
And Hollywood favourite Will Smith will be flexing his wish-granting powers as the iconic Genie, the very same role that Robin Williams voiced in the original 1992 animation.
The annual expo also made some exciting announcements regarding arguably one of the most loved Disney films of all time, The Lion King.
American actor and rapper Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) is set to star as Simba, and he will be joined by names such as Seth Rogen, John Oliver and James Earl Jones (who, yes, is reprising his role as Mufasa).
The film will be directed by Jon Favreau, who also worked his magic on the remake of The Jungle Book and is therefore well versed in recreating a Disney classic.
Although the part of Nala hasn’t been cast yet, there has been speculation that Beyonce could be seen for the role – which would basically be heaven.
Emily Blunt also made an appearance at the event to speak about starring in Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel to the 1964 version which sees everyone’s favourite nanny float back into the lives of an all grown-up Micheal and Jane Banks, 25 years after first serving them a spoon full sugar.
Speaking at the expo, Blunt spoke about the importance of honouring her predecessor, Julie Andrews, whilst still making the role her own.
“I needed to pay homage to what Julie [Andrews] did, but also carve out space for myself,” she said.
She continued: “No-one is ever going to out-Julie Julie Andrews – she’s unbelievable and there'll never be anybody like her. So I had to do my version of Mary – I think she is a little more acerbic and odd and vain in the books, so we went towards that version a little more.
“It’s my version of her.”
Alongside director Rob Marshall, the actor also teased some footage and music samples for the film that will be released in December 2018 – all of which was warmly received by audiences and critics.
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And if that’s not enough to satisfy your Disney cravings, there were even more exciting announcements to be made about Tim Burton’s live-action remake of Dumbo. Namely the fact that Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Eva Green and Michael Keaton are all on board to star.
Roll on 2018 already, we say…
Images: Rex Features / Disney YouTube