Thanks to Will Smith being cast in the role of the beloved Genie, Guy Ritchie’s upcoming adaptation of 1992’s Aladdin already had plenty of Philly cred. But with the film’s latest news, Agrabah’s corner stores might as well just go ahead and sell Tastykakes.
Ardmore’s Benj Pasek and his writing partner Justin Paul will provide music for Ritchie’s Aladdin, which is currently scheduled for a May 2019 release. As the pair told Variety on the Oscars red carpet over the weekend, they’ve written lyrics for two songs for the film.
— Variety (@Variety) March 5, 2018
Pasek and Paul also said that they had help from Disney music great Alan Menken, who has won eight Academy Awards — half of which were for best original song. Menken and his writing partner, Tim Rice, were the last songwriters to take home two consecutive Oscars for best original song, for “Beauty and the Beast” from Beauty and the Beast in 1992 and “A Whole New World” from Aladdin in 1993.
The partnership was a honor for Pasek and Paul, who told Variety that they mostly pestered the film music legend for stories about his past. Or, as Pasek put it, they couldn’t stop asking him to “tell us about Ariel,” the main character from the Little Mermaid.
Pasek and Paul lost out on becoming the latest songwriters since Menken and Rice to win back-to-back best original song Oscars on Sunday, with the duo being nominated for “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman a year after winning the honor for La La Land’s “City of Stars.” The award this year instead went to Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for Coco’s “Remember Me.”
They are, however, are back-to-back winners for best original song at the Golden Globes, which honored “This is Me” at this year’s ceremony. Pasek and Paul won a best song Golden Globe for “City of Stars” from La La Land last year.
The pair are also currently an “E” away from an EGOT, which is a collection of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards. That feat has been accomplished by just a dozen people, including Audrey Hepburn and Whoopi Goldberg. Pasek and Paul took home a Tony for best original score last year and a Grammy for best musical theater album this year for Dear Evan Hansen.