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Will Smith in talks to play the Genie in Guy Ritchie's live-action Aladdin

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 20/04/2017 By Telegraph Reporters
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For most of us, the Genie in Disney's Aladdin will be indelibly associated with the late Robin Williams. 

But Will Smith could be set to compete with his memory as it has been revealed the star is in pole position to take the iconic role in the new live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated adventure.

According to  Deadline, the 48-year-old actor, last seen in the critically mauled fantasy Collateral Beauty, is in talks to follow in Williams's footsteps. 

Directed by Guy Ritchie, the adaptation is scheduled to begin shooting this summer in the UK and Disney is reportedly looking for unknown actors for the lead roles; producer Dan Lin has said there will be no whitewashing of the Middle Eastern characters, saying  the film will have a “diverse” cast .

It's just the latest film in the studio’s current quest to bring its classic animated titles to life. This year, its live-action Beauty and the Beast has been a mega-hit for the company, grossing over $1bn worldwide. And as well as its upcoming adaptations of Aladdin and Dumbo – which will be directed by Tim Burton and was set to star Smith until a deal failed to materialise – Disney has plans to remake Mulan, Peter Pan, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas.

Ritchie’s next film, King Arthur, is out  next month, while Smith will next be seen starring in Bright, a big-budget Netflix thriller about a cop partnered with an orc.

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