Hollywood has enjoyed a long tradition of telling stories about people of color while conveniently omitting actors of color to play their parts. But a casting call for leads Jasmine and Aladdin that’s making the rounds on social media suggests Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake will not fit that mold.
“These characters are Middle Eastern,” reads the announcement, which adds that shooting kicks off July in the U.K.
The Huffington Post has reached out to Disney to confirm the authenticity of the announcement but did not receive a reply by publication time.
In light of industry whitewashing criticisms and news that a November 2018 version of “Mulan” is set to cast a Chinese actress in the titular role, the studio is likely motivated to fill the roles of Aladdin and Jasmine with non-white actors.
That’s all good news for anyone who welcomes better representation of minority groups on-screen ― a classification that should cover all viewers.
While the announcement doesn’t necessarily mean that the “Aladdin” actors will be Middle Eastern themselves ― note the careful use of the word “characters” ― if successful, it indicates that two actors of color will be starring in a Disney feature.
Guy Richie is rumored to direct, Deadline reports.
“Aladdin” will follow the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” starring Emma Watson set for release March 17, and will join a number of other live-action remakes of Disney classics.
“Mulan” aside, “Mary Poppins Returns” is set for December 2018 release with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emily Blunt in the lead, and a live-action “Lion King” is also in the pipeline.