Disney has come under fire for adding a new ‘white prince’ role in its new Aladdin remake.
White actor Billy Magnussen joins the likes of Will Smith, Naomi Scott and relative newcomer Mena Massoud in the live action remake of the beloved 1993 animation movie.
Magnussen, who played another prince in Disney’s Into the Woods, will star as Prince Anders – a new character who appears as a love rival to Aladdin for Princess Jasmine’s heart.
Billy Magnussen (pictured) will play Prince Anders – a brand new character who appears as a love rival of Aladdin’s for Princess Jasmine’s heart in the live action Disney remake
But the studio has been hit with accusations of whitewashing on social media for its casting of the white actor, in the Arab-style folktale tale set in the Middle East.
Many were confused as to why a white character had been added in the story when there had never been one before.
‘I’m sick of all this whitewashing,’ one Twitter user wrote. ‘First Death Note & now Aladdin? Ya’ll they just don’t seem to get it.’
‘I’m not even excited to see Aladdin anymore smh #whitewashing @Disney,’ another added.
One Twitter user wrote: ‘I am so confused to why they add a new white character to a complete story that is set in the Middle East?’
‘Why did they add a white prince to #Aladdin? This is going to be a disaster,’ another said.
New York Times bestselling author, Jeetendr Sehdev, even asked whether Magnussen ‘should step down as ‘Prince Anders’ the newly created white character in #Aladdin?’ over the controversy.
This isn’t the first time Aladdin remake had courted racial controversy.
Director Guy Ritchie was ‘whitewashing’ over the summer after a report from The Sun suggested he wanted to cast white British star Tom Hardy as the villain Jafar. In fact, Tunisian-Dutch actor Marwan Kenzari is in negotiations to play Aladdin’s evil nemesis.
The movie was also criticized for casting Scott, an Indian British actress, rather than a Middle Eastern star as Jasmine.
Mena Massoud (right) will play Aladdin in the remake of the beloved 1992 animated movie (left)
This isn’t the first time Aladdin remake had courted racial controversy. The movie was also criticized for casting Scott (pictured), an Indian British actress, rather than a Middle Eastern star as Jasmine.
Shooting is already underway and on Wednesday, Will Smith tweeted a smiling cast photo from the set
Magnussen too has faced criticism previously for his role in last year’s The Birth of the Dragon, telling the story of how a young Bruce Lee challenged kung fu master Wong Jack Man in the Sixties.
Disney revealed their casting choices for Jasmine, Aladdin and Genie during the D23 Expo in July.
Scott, who is of British and Indian descent, will play Princess Jasmine while Mena Massoud was announced as Aladdin.
Mena was born in Cairo, Egypt but raised in Canada; he is set to star in the new series Jack Ryan as Tarek Kassar. Will Smith will bring the star power to the film as the beloved Genie.
Former Saturday Night Live star Nasim Pedrad has joined the cast of the movie; she will play Mara – Jasmine’s friend and handmaiden, the website reports.
Shooting is already underway and on Wednesday, Will Smith tweeted a smiling cast photo from the set.
The film does not have a release date yet.