Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ Still Seeking Diamond In The Rough

Director Guy Ritchie and production are supposed to be shooting the live-action remake of Disney’s “Aladdin” right about now, but that could be difficult to do without Aladdin himself.

After the announcement of a live-action version for the 1992 Disney classic “Aladdin,” the studio sent out an open casting call in search of two actors of Middle Eastern or Indian descent to play the titular street rat of Agrabah and his feisty princess love interest. Rehearsals were set to begin in April, and shooting in July, but finding suitable actors to play the leads is proving difficult, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The THR reports the casting call brought in over 2,000 actors and actresses to read for the roles, but Ritchie and his casting directors have yet to find their Middle Eastern leads.

The search for a cast hasn’t been completely fruitless, however. Will Smith has signed on to play Genie, and Disney is seeking another household name to play Jafar. Half-Indian “Power Rangers” actress Naomi Scott and Indian actress Tara Sutaria are being considered for Jasmine, but without an Aladdin, Disney is hesitant to lockdown any lead actresses just yet.

The studio was interested in Dev Patel (most recently of the Oscar-nominated “Lion”) and Riz Ahmed (“The Night Of,” “Star Wars: Rogue One”), but as the search goes on, it’s becoming increasingly likely whoever lands the role of Aladdin will be a Hollywood newcomer.

On the flip side: The extra time the studio is taking to find its leads means that it’s taking extra care to get this cast right. (We hope.)