(via comingsoon.net) According to The Hollywood Reporter, Walt Disney Studios has found its chief villain Jafar for their live-action Aladdin movie in Dutch-Tunisian actor Marwan Kenzari (Ben-Hur, The Mummy, Murder on the Orient Experess). Jafar was voiced by Jonathan Freeman in the 1992 animated movie. Former Saturday Night Live star Nasim Pedrad (The Dictator, New Girl, People of Earth) has also been cast as Mara, the handmaiden and friend to Jasmine, a comedic role specifically written for the new film.
Mena Massoud (The 99, Jack Ryan) will play the titular street thief, with Naomi Scott (Power Rangers) set to play Jasmine. Will Smith will play the role of the Genie in the film, which will not only borrow plot elements from the original animated movie but also its basis, the classic tome “1,001 Arabian Nights.”
Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes) will direct the film, which has a script by John August (Big Fish) and will keep the musical elements of the 1992 hit.
Aladdin was nominated for five Academy Awards and won two, including Best Original Score and Best Original Song for “A Whole New World.” Based on the Middle-Eastern folktale Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, the 1992 animated film was co-directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, who had previously-directed The Little Mermaid and would go on to make other Disney classics, including Hercules, Treasure Planet, The Princess and the Frog, and Moana. It famously featured Robin Williams as the film’s genie, along with Scott Weinger as Aladdin, Jonathan Freeman as Jafar, Linda Larkin as Princess Jasmine, Frank Welker as Aladdin’s monkey pal Abu, plus Douglas Seale as The Sultan, and Gilbert Gottfried as Iago.
Aladdin joins a long list of live-action remakes by Disney of their classic animated films, including Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Pete’s Dragon, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Mulan, Dumbo, and more.