Guy Ritchie’s wish has been granted; the director of the live action Aladdin remake has cast Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud as the titular hero, with Naomi Scott, who starred in Power Rangers, as Princess Jasmine.
“So honored & grateful for the opportunity to help bring this magical story to life once again. Let’s get to work!” Massoud tweeted out in response to the announcement. He is currently featured in the television series Jack Ryan.
Disney revealed its casting decision at D23 Expo, a fan convention in Anaheim, California. It also confirmed that Will Smith will take on the role of Genie, which was voiced by Robin Williams in the original animated film.
This follows reports that the director was having trouble finding lead actors of Indian or Middle Eastern descent and an ensuing social media storm with users around the world suggesting potential actors.
The film was likely inspired by the record-breaking success of the live action Beauty and the Beast remake, which raked in $170 million in its opening weekend. Other live action remakes include The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella. A spate of Disney films are set to be remade as live action films, including The Lion King and Mulan.
The release date for the film has yet to be announced.