Billy Magnussen has been cast in Disney’s upcoming live action remake of Aladdin. So who exactly will Magnussen be playing in the movie? Is he bringing a character from the original 1992 film to life? Or is he someone entirely new?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Magnussen is not playing anyone from the original Aladdin. Instead, he is playing a new character named Prince Anders. That’s all that The Hollywood Reporter specified in its report, but according to Vanity Fair, Prince Anders is described as “a suitor from Skanland and potential husband for Princess Jasmine.”
News of Magnussen’s casting was met with some criticism on social media, with fans wondering why a white actor was joining the cast of a movie set in the Middle East and following all non-white characters. These fans can at least rest easy knowing that Disney has not cast a white actor to play one of the original non-white characters from the film; he’s playing someone created for this remake.
Billy Magnussen will be known to many as Rapunzel’s prince in the 2014 Disney musical Into the Woods; he’s the one who sings the “Agony” duet with Chris Pine. On television, Magnussen has been seen in a few recurring characters, such as Kato Kaelin on American Crime Story‘s first season. He has had plenty of roles on stage as well, most notably as Spike in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. For this performance, Magnussen was nominated for the Tony Award of Best Featured Actor in a Play.
At this point, the majority of the main characters of the live action Aladdin remake have been cast. Will Smith will star as the Genie, while Mena Massoud will play Aladdin, Naomi Scott will play Jasmine, and Marwan Kenzari will play Jafar. One prominent role that has not yet been cast, though, is that of Iago, Jafar’s bird sidekick that was originally played by Gilbert Gottfried.
Aladdin is the latest of Disney’s live-action remakes of their classic films following Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Pete’s Dragon and Beauty and the Beast. It does not yet have an official release date, but production is currently underway, and it will likely hit theaters in 2019 or 2020.