How Did Will Smith Prepare Himself To Play The Genie In the Upcoming Remake Of “Aladdin”?

It has nearly been two-and-a-half-years since Will Smith took a hiatus from the big screen.

Now he is back and is playing the iconic role of the Genie in the remake of the 1992 Disney animated film, Aladdin.

Will Smith attends the “Aladdin” European Gala | Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Though Smith had big shoes to fill following the performance of Robin Williams, the actor exceeded everyone’s expectations and created his own version of the wish-granting Genie.

He initially turned down the role

As someone who fully transforms into his characters the minute he steps onto the set, many wouldn’t think Will Smith had a hard time getting in touch with his inner Genie.

With his acting career spanning more than three decades, Will Smith has shown the world that he is able to fully embody any character he signs on to play.

However, with his latest role as the Genie in the new live-action remake of Aladdin, Smith had a harder time preparing for this role than he planned for.

The actor was faced with challenge of bringing an oversized personality to the big screen, just like Robin Williams did 27 years ago.

As it turns out, Will Smith was actually nervous to follow in the footsteps of Williams, who was the to make the Genie a Disney favorite.

Since the actor was “deeply intimidated” to recreate the character Robin Williams made famous, Will Smith had initially turned down the role.

“When I got the call to play Genie, my first reaction was, ‘Uhhh? I’m not sure about this, only because Robin Williams did such a brilliant job,’” said Smith. “He revolutionized how things worked in animated movies and introduced to the world what you could do by using funny, modern references for adults. I thought, what would I do differently, and what could I add? It was terrifying because Robin didn’t leave much room for improvement.”

Though it was nerve-wracking for Smith in the beginning, he soon agreed to be part of the remake and found ways to put his own twist on the iconic role.

Will was able to connect with the film’s core values

Many of us know that singing and dancing is not Will Smith’s forté.

Throughout his career, we’ve come to know Smith as not only an actor but also a very talented rapper.

Since Aladdin has so many different aspects coming together, many weren’t too sure Will Smith would really be up for the challenge.

However, the actor quickly proved everyone wrong and connected with the film’s main values on a personal level.

“To be able to sing, dance, rap, act, and do action with special effects all together in one film was a spectacular job. It’s like I’ve been training how to do this over the last 30 years for this role—but what I’m most proud of is the message, and the beautiful themes at the center of the story,” Will told Vanity Fair.

As for him embodying the same on-screen magic as Robin Williams, Will Smith wanted to be able to make the character his own but still keep the late actor’s memory alive.

“He didn’t want to be insensitive to the memory of Robin [Williams], and what [he] had created,” director Guy Ritchie told Yahoo Entertainment. “So Will was adamant that he had to be different, and not go near that particular incarnation. But I was pretty confident that Will could deliver Will. And that was my job, my job was to encourage Will to be Will.”