Disney has finally revealed who’ll be playing Aladdin and Jasmine in its forthcoming live-action remake of the beloved 1992 animated hit.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the announcement was made Saturday at the D23 fan expo that relative newcomer Mena Massoud had landed the title role, with “Power Rangers” star Naomi Scott set to play Princess Jasmine.
Massoud, who was born in Egypt and raised in Canada, will also be seen in Amazon’s upcoming “Jack Ryan” series, starring John Krasinski, and is best known for his role in the YTV teen series “Open Heart”.
British-born Scott, whose mother is from northern India, has previously appeared in the film “The 33” and Fox’s short-lived dinosaur series “Terra Nova”.
According to an earlier report in The Hollywood Reporter, the movie had struggled to cast the lead roles of Jasmine and Aladdin. After months of searching for actors who could handle the singing/acting roles.
The casting difficulties had reportedly held up production on the live-action remake, which was initially scheduled to go into production in July. Sources revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that the casting process has been a mess, with actors coming in several times to read for the parts.
Disney was reported to be interested in both Dev Patel and Riz Ahmed for the title role, but had hoped to land a newcomer. While Massoud ultimately won the role, other actors considered included Achraf Koutet and George Kosturos, while Scott had been considered a frontrunner to play Jasmine.
However, Disney had no trouble when it came to filling the shoes of Robin Williams in the role of the wisecracking Genie, as Will Smith has already signed on.
Prior to the casting announcement, Twitter users offered some suggestions as to who could play the lead roles: