Every Friday, we assemble 3 of our talented writers at Geek Motivation to battle it out in a Fancast. They get a character, and they’re tasked with casting the perfect actor. After that, we post a poll on our Twitter account for you to vote for your favorite. This week’s character is GENIE!
RAYMOND VINUYA – WILL SMITH
There have already been talks surrounding Will Smith in the role of Genie in a live-action version of Aladdin. While many may be skeptical, I believe this would be an iconic casting.
Trying to portray the role of Genie in a manner similar to the late Robin Williams’ performance in the original Aladdin would be an impossible feat. However great the next actor to fill the blue man’s shoes, it would be the same task as replacing Heath Ledger’s Joker. Impossible.
This is reason to provide a new, fresh take on the character. Will Smith has had much success in roles that require him to act in an emotional, no-nonsense way, such as Concussion, 7 Pounds, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Ali. However, Will Smith has also succeeded in his comedic roles, such as the characters he portrays in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Men In Black, and Hitch.
Therefore, whether the new Aladdin film requires the actor to be serious, comedic, or both, Will Smith’s resume speaks greatness in each category.
Not only does his resume fit the role, but the role fits the actor.
Genie plays a role as Aladdin’s unending reservoir of support. He inspires Aladdin to be his best, while being his source of comedic relief. This is very similar to Will Smith’s role in Hitch, as he must help Kevin James’ character learn to talk to the girl of his dreams. However, Robin Williams was tasked with singing in his role. While some may question Will Smith’s ability to carry a tune, one may never forget his ability to rap, as he has released four studio albums in his music career. Regardless of his ability to sing or not, the role of Genie fits the actor in this fancast.
PRESTON MOORE – JAMES MONROE IGLEHART
Let’s get one thing straight. Whoever they end up casting as The Genie in Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin will NOT top Robin Williams. It’s comparable to the casting of The Joker in Suicide Squad. They weren’t trying to top Heath Ledger, they just wanted something fresh, and that’s Disney’s approach with casting the iconic Genie.
If we accept that no one will top Robin Williams, the best option is someone who was Robin Williams approved: Broadway star and former Genie James Monroe Iglehart. His performance won him a Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, and gained him nationwide fame.
In his Hollywood debut, he’d be no different. He brought a unique spunk to the character that no other actor could. Seeing as Robin Williams personally approved of Iglehart, it’s an obvious choice. Being relatively unknown actor compared to Hollywood stars of today, and also coming off of a highly successful run as the character in question, James Monroe Iglehart would shine on the big screen. In the day and age where Broadway stars such as Lin-Manuel Miranda are transitioning back and forth to movies, and where movie stars such as Chris Evans are making the jump to Broadway, it is not only likely, but also plausible that we could see a Broadway star in the new Aladdin, and who better than the man who won prestigious national awards for the singing the very same music and saying the very same lines. James Monroe Iglehart is clearly the most qualified and most preferable actor to take on the role of the Genie in Disney’s upcoming remake of the animated classic Aladdin.
DANIELLE GONZALEZ – TITUSS BURGESS
The Genie in Aladdin is an iconic character that everyone has grown to love. While he has been portrayed by Robin Williams in the animated film and James Monroe Iglehart on Broadway, he’s never been seen in a live movie.
Since the Genie is an energetic role with a large personality and a talent for impersonations, the man playing him must be able to perform with a great amount of energy and character.
Tituss Burgess, an insanely talented and hilarious 38 year old man, is constantly captivating in every role that he plays. He is best known for performing in the original cast of The Little Mermaid (Sebastian) and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Titus). In all of his performances he has an abundance of charisma and energy that is perfect for the Genie. He is also known for his facial expressions which he uses to create comedic moments that would transfer well to the Genie.
Not only does Tituss have the perfect range for this baritone role, but he has the ability to hit incredibly impressive soprano notes, making way for great show off moments during Friend Like Me and throughout the movie.
His overall energy, knack for comedy and persona are meant for this role. If you have any doubts I strongly recommend you watch his show on Netflix and the last 30 seconds of his Under the Sea on YouTube. You won’t regret it!
Don’t forget to vote for your favorite on the poll!