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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

No Abu Dhabi star, but Disney releases first-look Aladdin trailer

Cinema giant held unsuccessful auditions in the capital last year

An early publicity poster for Disney's Aladdin, posted to Instagram by Will Smith
An early publicity poster for Disney's Aladdin, posted to Instagram by Will Smith

Disney has released the first teaser trailer for its new, live-action, take on the Aladdin story, directed by Guy Ritchie and due to release next May.

Mickey Mouse and co cast their net far and wide to find ethnically appropriate actors to take on the lead roles, with casting sessions taking place across the Middle East and India, including one in Abu Dhabi. Sadly, those auditions failed to provide the movie giant with the star it needed.

Disney eventually settled on Egyptian-Canadian newcomer, Mena Massoud, as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, and Will Smith as the genie Aladdin. Dutch-Tunisian actor Marwan Kenzari is also among the supporting cast as Jafar, alongside Homeland’s Iranian star Navid Negahban. Canadian-Indian-Native American actress Priyanka Samra also features, in an as-yet-undisclosed role.

The trailer itself doesn’t give too much away – more than half of its sub-one-and-a-half run time is dedicated to a 27-second sweeping aerial shot of rolling sand dunes, followed by eight seconds of blank screen and a Disney logo, and a further 20 seconds of logo and credits at the end.

There’s no sign of Will Smith’s genie, though we do get to see Massoud’s Aladdin reaching for the lamp in a blink-and-you’ll miss it shot, cut into the closing credits. There’s not really too much else to say about the trailer, and it’s certainly not possible to offer any sort of prediction on how the film will turn out from the little information we’re given. See for yourself below.

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