Disney is rebooting Aladdin, and a couple of Philadelphia natives are in the running for a role famously voiced by Robin Williams in the 1992 original: Genie.
As Deadline reported earlier this month, Will Smith is currently in talks to portray Genie in the Aladdin remake, which Guy Ritchie will direct. The Suicide Squad star reportedly had previously discussed playing a villain in Disney’s upcoming Dumbo reboot, but plans failed to come together with that role.
According to Screen Rant, Smith wasn’t the only high-profile Philadelphian to get an offer for the Genie role. As it turns out, filmmakers had previously reached out to Kevin Hart for the part.
Variety reporter Justin Kroll broke that news on Twitter in response to speculation that Hart might be considered to play Iago, Jafar’s parrot, who was voiced by Gilbert Gottfried in the original film.
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) April 21, 2017
It is unclear why Disney may have switched to Smith after reportedly approaching Hart for the role. Hart, however, will next appear in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a reboot of the 1995 Jumanji that puts Hart alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Fans, meanwhile, weighed in online on who they thought would make the better Genie:
Kevin Hart should have been named the Genie. Not Will Smith. pic.twitter.com/HXapQC5yit
— LILITHIA KATYCAT ♥♡♪ (@lilithia) April 20, 2017
Will Smith as the Genie in Aladdin > Kevin Hart as the Genie
— Micah (@MicahHarshaw) April 22, 2017
Honestly I think Kevin Hart should be the genie over Will Smith. But I think Jim Carey would also be dope as genie. Maybe Jack Black.
— Jesse Grubb (@TherealJ_Grubb) April 22, 2017
God is great.
Rather have Will Smith
Than annoying Kevin Hart
As the Genie.
— Mason Guevara (@MasonGuevara) April 19, 2017
@GeekFeedDotCom No one will ever beat Robin Williams' portrayal of Genie, but I think that Will Smith would do the character justice.
— KJ Geraghty (@kjstark21) April 19, 2017
— Rob Movie (@RobMovie2) April 22, 2017
Few details about the film have been announced, though as Deadline reports, crews are preparing for a six-month shoot that is scheduled to start in the United Kingdom in July. Penned by John August, the script is based on the 1992 animated film, which follows Aladdin, Princess Jasmine, and Genie, who bestows three wishes on our titular hero.
The original Aladdin pulled in about $504 million worldwide following its 1992 release. The franchise has since spawned two sequels (The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves) and an animated television series of the same name.