Will Smith’s take on a beloved Disney character came into focus on Tuesday, during the studio’s presentation to U.S. movie theater owners at CinemaCon.
Disney distribution executive Cathleen Taff showed exhibitors a behind-the-scenes package from Guy Ritchie’s upcoming live adaptation of “Aladdin” — the first time anyone has seen Smith step into the role made famous by the voice work of Robin Williams.
“To state the obvious, no one could replicate the iconic performance of Robin Williams,” Taff said.
She described Smith’s performance as “a little ‘Fresh Prince,’ a little ‘Hitch,’ and a whole lot of attitude.”
Smith was living his full Arabian fantasy in the footage, decked out in jewels and robes and sporting a high ponytail on a shiny bald head. He could also be seen in numerous dance sequences, one in full harem drag dancing with scores of women in town square.
It’s unclear when the featurette might be released to the public. We also don’t know what classics and new numbers Smith might sing in the film, thought it’s been reported his deal included new songs.
The majority of footage centered on a Ritchie’s visual concept. The action movie native brings his frenetic pacing to the tale of a hustler who finds a magic lamp and changes his own destiny. Practical stunts included flying off of rooftops and rebounding on the awnings and marketplace stalls of the fictional Middle Eastern city.
The live-action “Aladdin” is set for release on May 24, 2019.