We might be a getting a different sort of Jafar for the live-action Aladdin remake.
British tabloid The Sun is reporting that director Guy Ritchie is keen on casting Tom Hardy for the role of the iconic villain. An unnamed source told the paper that "Guy is a huge fan of Tom’s work and securing him would be a major coup."
But it appears that, allegedly, they are still in early negotiations. "There have been conversations and, although nothing is set in stone and things are subject to change, he’s certainly one of Guy’s favoured choices," the source said.
But ... Tom Hardy is white!
First of all, Tom Hardy, of course, is a brilliant actor, and he has proven that he can play a convincing and menacing villain, like when he portrayed Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. But, if this rumor is proven true, then it might turn out to be another case of Hollywood whitewashing.
The original animated feature, 1992's Aladdin, was based on a Middle Eastern folklore, and, although the original tale is set in China, the story itself is filled with Arabic cultural references. Disney's version is set in the fictional kingdom of Agrabah, but the film's narrator does state that it is located near the Jordan river which puts its location in the Middle East. The iconography, architecture, terms used, and the appearance of the people are also heavily inspired by Arabic and Persian culture.
Hardy is a British actor with English and Irish ancestry, so how he will fit in the narrative would be a stretch. But, then again, we are not sure that he is really being tapped for the role.
Previously, Aladdin's producer Dan Lin had made assurances that the upcoming film won't be whitewashed and that it will be "diverse" and "authentic".
He told Collider, “Look at me, I mean I’m not a typical guy. Listen I’m very fortunate working in Hollywood; I am diverse. So when I came in to make the movie, I wanted to make a diverse version of the movie." He then added that the director is on board with this. "Luckily for me Guy Ritchie has the same vision and Disney has the same vision ... We want to make a movie that’s authentic to that world."
And it seems that the casting call confirms this push for authenticity,
Alright kids, if you know someone who fits this, you better share this with them. Submit asap. Good luck my babies pic.twitter.com/PLP37ritcV— Dani Fernandez (@msdanifernandez) March 9, 2017
But, then again, that casting call is only for the two main leads. The anonymous source also told The Sun that pop star Jade Thirlwall is being considered for the role of Jasmine, and she does have Yemeni and Egyptian ancestry on her mother's side.
So does that make it okay, if the two leads are "authentic"? You be the judge.