Disney really wants Will Smith to star in one of its live-action remakes of a classic animated movie. First, the Disney folks courted the actor to be in Dumbo, directed by Tim Burton. That deal ultimately fell through, however, with Smith walking away from the movie. Apparently there wasn’t any bad blood between the star and the studio, though, because now they’re in talks for Smith to star in Aladdin.
Deadline broke the news and did so with the extra emphasis that the talks between the studio and Smith are still early and could certainly go the way of Dumbo. But if it does pan out this time, the Men in Black star would be playing the genie so brilliantly portrayed by Robin Williams the first time around.
Guy Ritchie (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) is directing this new version from a script by John August (Big Fish). It’ll be a musical following the same general story of a commoner who uses three wishes given to him by a genie to pursue a princess, but that’s about all we know at this point. Neither Aladdin nor Jasmine have been cast yet. Disney does want to start filming in the U.K. in July, though, so if they’re going to hit that start date, expect these casting deals to start really coming together in the next month or two.