The Fresh Prince has big shoes to fill as he takes viewers on a magical carpet ride
GENIE IN A BOTTLE
Having faced off against everything from wealthy snobs, alien invaders, drug dealers, mechanical spiders and fairies, Will Smith takes on his toughest role yet, playing a magical blue being who lives inside a lamp.
In Disney’s Aladdin, director Guy Ritchie’s liveaction remake of the 1992 animated classic, Will plays the Genie – a role originally created by the late great Robin Williams.
It’s not easy following in the footsteps of a comedic genius like Robin Williams, even if you’re a music, action and comedy superstar like the Fresh Prince. He described the process of taking on the Genie as “terrifying”.
“Whenever you’re doing things that are iconic, it’s always terrifying,” Will told EW.com.
But it got easier after watching the original movie a few times “and I saw where Robin infused the character with a timeless version of himself”.
“I said to myself, ‘What if I just infuse the character with a timeless version of myself?’ And then that opened up for me . . . hiphop, it opened up fashion.
“Because the Genie is timeless you get to really say and do anything so I started to feel confident I could deliver something that was a homage to Robin Williams but was musically different. And just the flavour of the character would be different and unique enough that it would be in a different lane versus trying to compete.”
After the release of the film’s first trailer the internet wasn’t kind about the blue Genie version of Will.
He was compared to an Avatar reject, a Smurf and Sonic the Hedgehog.
“It was very funny,” the actor told Empire magazine. “Everything is under such critical scrutiny. I came up in an era where there was no internet. It’s a new thing that I’m trying to get a handle on.”
A few months later a new trailer was released with greatly improved computergenerated imagery Genie footage, which seemed to pacify the film’s critics.
“[There were] apologies from the cynics who were so adamant initially,” director Guy told Empire.
“I’ve never seen apologies in that world. I thought, ‘Oh well, great, we’re back to where I’d hoped we’d be’.”
Catch Will Smith in all his blue glory in Aladdin, now in cinemas.