The Problem With Everyone's Dream Aladdin Casting

Photo: Courtesy of Disney.
Ever since The Hollywood Reporter announced that Disney has run into some roadblocks casting its live-action Aladdin remake, fans and publications alike have been quick to step in with suggestions. There are tons of talented actors and actresses of color out there — so there shouldn't be any issues finding people to fill the roles. That's all well and good, and it's high time we saw another live-action Disney movie featuring leads of color.
However, many of the fan suggestions are missing a crucial point about Aladdin, and people have been quick to point out the mistake on Twitter.
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The majority of these fan-casted actors are South Asian and Bollywood actors, which isn't exactly what the film calls for. While actors like Dev Patel are awesome — and we definitely need more South Asian representation in Hollywood— these names might not be the best fit. The characters in Aladdin are Arab, not Indian, and people's failure to make the distinction has fans upset.
"Imho, getting an Indian actor to play a Middle Eastern Aladdin would be just as racist as casting a white actor," one person tweeted.
"Aladdin isn't from India, so why are people suggesting Indian actors? Not all brown people are the same," another person wrote.
These critics raise a valid point — just because an actor is of color doesn't mean they are fit to play just about any ethnicity. The live action Aladdin is an opportunity for cinema to spotlight a a Middle Eastern actor — of which, there are just about a bazillion. Disney would do well to heed these tweets as it continues to search for its Aladdin leads.
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