It’s not new or surprising when Disney announces yet another live action adaption to one of their animated films. Some say it’s Hollywood running out of ideas, whereas others say it’s all down to the money. Either way, it doesn’t look like they’re going to stop any time soon, whether you love them or hate them.
However, with the cast of the upcoming Aladdin film announced, fans have not been happy with the decision to cast Naomi Scott as Jasmine.
The actress is of British and Indian heritage, but many fans are arguing that the part should have gone to an actress of Arab heritage instead. Go figure in these liberally deluded times of racial grandeur. Since even now Disney casting sessions are not safe from critique when it comes to racial issues, even though Naomi looks the part of Jasmine down to a tee.
Naomi will star alongside Mena Massoud who will play Aladdin, and Will Smith as Genie. Fans have also complained that they wanted the part to go to Avian Jogia, who is not of Arab heritage. So, it’s okay for Aladdin’s actor to be non-Arabic, yet it’s “oh-so” terrible when Jasmine’s isn’t either? Illogical isn’t a strong enough word for this whole debacle.
The setting of Aladdin is based in a fictional country called Agrabah, but fans have assumed it is meant to represent part of the Middle East. See the word “fictional” in there? Since the setting of the original film is based in a non-existent country, then why would an actor’s heritage matter in the story? For example, it would be understandable if a film adaption followed a story based out of a real country, but none of the main cast had any heritage to the said country. However, since Agrabah clearly doesn’t exist, then it’s not really relevant, is it? Who made up the rules on race in Agrabah, anyway?
Fans have taken to Twitter about their views on the casting selection, some complaining that the film suggests women of Indian and Middle Eastern heritage look the same.
“People have a right to be upset about Naomi Scott being cast. They’re upset that their representation was taken away, and rightly so.” A Twitter user complained.
“Very disappointed in the casting of Princess Jasmine. I like Naomi Scott but she is not Arab. Indian =/= Arab. She isn’t dark enough too.” Another user added
Others, however, are happy with the choice, and support Naomi in her role as Jasmine. One particular user argued towards the unhappy fans about Naomi Scott’s colour, pointing out that Will Smith isn’t blue like Genie.
“Y’all are complaining that Naomi Scott doesn’t have brown-coloured skin to play as Princess Jasmine in #Aladdin
Will Smith ain’t Blue”
Some fans had speculated that Jade Thirwell from Little Mix would be cast as Jasmine. Jade is of Egyptian and Yemeni heritage. However, some people tend to forget that acting and singing are not the same talent. Watch Lady Gaga in American Horror Story: Hotel and you’ll really see the difference. Just because someone can sing well, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can act well too, and vice versa. Some are talented enough to be able to do both, but the majority of the time, they can’t. That’s not to suggest Jade is bad at acting, but it would be a little stupid to cast her as Jasmine just because she has the “right heritage”. It’s about talent, not appearance, after all. And, that’s putting it kindly.
Guy Ritchie has been confirmed to direct the film, but a release date has not yet been announced.
<Story by Emily Clark>
Featured Photo Credit: Screen Rant