This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in 2021.

The Internet Can't Believe That Disney Can't Find An Actor To Play Aladdin

Please don't pick a white actor, please don't pick a white actor...

It's hard to trust Hollywood execs these days.

Basically since film was invented, they've let us down by whitewashing their films (we still can't believe they cast Scarlett Johansson to play an Asian character in "Ghost in the Shell"), by not giving actors of colour the opportunity to play leads in movies and TV shows, and by refusing to acknowledge their role in the lack of diversity in Hollywood.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

So, when we heard that Disney was doing a live-action remake of "Aladdin," we were skeptical. Would they actually cast a brown person to play the title character or would they whitewash him? But execs assured us that they were specifically looking for brown actors to play star-crossed lovers, Prince Ali and Princess Jasmine.

But of course, our hopes were dashed when it was recently reported that Disney is having a hard time finding their Aladdin.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Aladdin" director Guy Ritchie can't find a male actor in his 20s who can act and sing, "especially since the studio wants someone of Middle-Eastern or Indian descent."

THR reports casting agents were brought in for a "massive global search" and that around 2,000 actors and actresses have read for the roles of Jasmine and Aladdin. The entertainment outlet also reports that Disney is interested in "Slumdog Millionaire" star Dev Patel and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" actor Riz Ahmed, as well as Dutch actor Achraf Koutet and Canadian Mena Massoud, however it's likely they will turn to a newcomer to play the role of the prince.

But not everyone is impressed with the fact that despite testing thousands of actors, they couldn't find one guy to play Aladdin. (Hey Disney, maybe you can try a Bollywood actor. I hear there's a lot of them. And they can all act, sing, and dance!)

They also had their own suggestions for who could play Prince Ali and Jasmine.

Even "Silicon Valley" star Kumail Nanjiani spoke up.

While some were plain fed up.

It's easy to see why people are outraged and worried that Disney will mess this up.

After all, as we've reported before, many actors of colour are given secondary roles (that is, if they even get cast, which is still a rarity), and are usually delegated to the part of the friend, the nerd, or an offensive stereotype.

In a University of Southern California study, more than half of the 400 films they looked at didn't feature Asian-speaking characters. And they found that in 2014, only five per cent of characters in film were Asian, while nearly 75 per cent were white.

According to the Daily Bruin, more than half of the top 100 grossing films in 2016 had no Asian characters.

And they wonder why we're upset.

Suggest a correction
This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada. Certain site features have been disabled. If you have questions or concerns, please check our FAQ or contact