Will Smith on Paying Homage to Robin Williams and Bringing His ‘Own Flavor’ to ‘Aladdin’

Variety | 5/23/2019 | Angelique Jackson


When Disney’s animated classic “Aladdin” was released in 1992, Will Smith was best known as the rapper-turned-star of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and a career as a movie star seemed like a pipe dream. It would a few more years until “Bad Boys,” “Independence Day” or “Men in Black” would make him a box office king (and a few more years before the shine started to dull on the crown). Fast-forward 27 years to the premiere of Disney’s live-action adaptation of the film and witness Smith the superstar, taking on the iconic role of the Genie, and taking over the extravagant premiere.

“It’s a whole lot easier to stand in front of you guys when the movie’s good,” Smith quipped as he walked up to reporters at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. The star had reason to be in high spirits since many of the early reviews of the film have been positive, including Variety’s own — with chief film critic Peter Debruge calling it a “high-risk, mostly rewarding” remake.

Risks - Film - Way - Robin - Williams

And one of the biggest risks the film had to overcome was finding a way to capture the magic the late Robin Williams brought to the Genie. Legendary composer Alan Menken, who wrote the music for the original film and the remake, told Variety that “Will’s performance is a tribute to him — the emotion that’s in it.”

“I was pretty confident that Will could do it,” director Guy Ritchie told reporters. “So my job really was to encourage Will to be more Will. And as long as we stuck to that M.O., then I felt as though it would work. Then gradually we found that identity in rehearsals. And then once we found it, we were off to the races.”

Smith - Challenge - Role

Smith said the biggest challenge of playing the role was “being...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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