Agrabah is shaping up to be a pretty cool place to be. Following the announcement last month that Disney had officially cast the two main roles in their live-action Aladdin remake, the movie has now found its villain. (And even better, it’s not Tom Hardy!)
According to The Hollywood Reporter, who first broke the news, Marwan Kenzari will play the iconic role of the vizier to the sultan, who has a master plan to take over the city for himself and his wisecracking bird. No word yet on the casting of the best character in Aladdin, Iago, but you know, we’re in no rush. The movie doesn’t even have an official release date yet.
Earlier this year, the film made headlines when Disney announced they were looking to cast Middle Eastern actors in the roles of Aladdin and Jasmine, and all the yes to that. And then Disney made headlines when word got out that the movie’s director, Guy Ritchie, was thinking about putting Tom Hardry in the role of Jafar, and hard pass. The production was immediately accused of trying to whitewash the roles, which is becoming a prominent, and troubling, practice in Hollywood.
And if that’s not enough, THR then ran a story that Disney couldn’t find two actors for Aladdin and Jasmine, and it seemed like Aladdin was on a magic carpet to nowhere.
But then, as if someone had just rubbed a magic lamp, Aladdin and Jasmine were announced at D23 — Mena Massoud will be playing Aladdin, with Naomi Scott playing Jasmine — and all was right in Agrabah. Now with the news that Jafar will be played by Kenzari, who is of Dutch-Tunisian heritage, this is a whole new world we definitely want to visit. I just looked up some pictures of him quickly and I strongly feel that you need to see them:
So Aladdin’s going to be a pretty great movie, huh? Now if Disney would just cast the best parrot they can find as Iago.