As Disney continues its quest to remake its animated classics into live-action films, the next one in the chamber is “Aladdin”, with Will Smith cast in the role of the wisecracking Genie, famously voiced by the late Robin Williams in the original.
When the first photos from the upcoming reboot were released, however, Smith and director Guy Ritchie were immediately hit with backlash over the look of his character (who apparently loses his blue hue when he takes on human form).
In a new interview with Empire, the 50-year-old star responds to the backlash, insisting he’s not worried about fans having negative reactions to the new version of the beloved film.
“It was very funny,” Smith says. “There was a Sonic The Hedgehog / Genie frog. Everything is under such critical scrutiny.”
As Smith explains, he’s still trying to wrap his head around this relatively new phenomenon of instant backlash to a film long before people have even seen it, often based on the earliest incomplete information.
“I came up in an era where there was no internet,” he continues. “It’s a new thing that I’m trying to get a handle on.”
Ritchie also speaks with the magazine and says that the backlash was actually short-lived and died down after the release of the latest trailer and its improved footage of the Genie.
“It even came with apologies from the cynics who were so adamant initially,” Ritchie says of the new trailer. “I’ve never seen apologies in that world. I thought, Oh well, great, we’re back to where I’d hoped we’d be.”
“Aladdin” hits theatres on May 24.