Sure, Michelle Obama showed up at the Grammys, along with Dolly Parton, and Diana Ross. But all Twitter could think about was the new Aladdin trailer that aired during the Grammys and gave fans the first glimpse of what Will Smith will look like at as the Genie. In a word? Awesome. He looks awesome, along with the rest of the mixed live action and animation that will go into rebooting this Disney classic this spring.
It's very exciting, since the original teaser for the movie, released back in October, didn't include the Genie. And although Princess Jasmine, the magic carpet, and Aladdin himself are major draws — the Genie is kind of the best part of the whole Disney version of the story, right? In the original version, he was voiced by Robin Williams, so Smith has some pretty big, pointy genie shoes to fill. It looks like fans won't be disappointed by this Guy Ritchie directed version.
Although he's not a cartoon in this version, they've still painted Smith all blue — and somehow beefed him up a little bit, as fans on Twitter were quick to point out. Even the most traditionalist of Disney fans who hate any remake at all of the original versions will have to admit that Smith might have been the perfect choice for the role.
Although it looks like he's going to ham it up just like Williams did in the 1992 version, the actor was determined to make the character his own this time around, and rightly so. Smith told Entertainment Weekly that taking on such an iconic role was daunting, but he managed to get through all that expectation:
"For me, the first aspect was it was live action, so that meant it would look and feel really different, so I was encouraged by that. And secondarily, after I watched the movie a few times, I saw where Robin Williams infused the character with a timeless version of himself, so I said to myself, “What if I just infuse the character with a timeless version of myself?” And then that opened up for me… hip-hop, it opened up fashion."
Smith added that the Genie is "timeless," so he felt that he could "deliver something that was an homage to Robin Willians but was musically different and just the flavor of the character would be different enough and unique enough that it would be in a different lane versus trying to compete."
Smith added that there are a few new songs in this updated version, but everyone's favorites are still there. In fact, "Friend Like Me" was one of the first songs he recorded when he was still considering the role. Seeing that he could do it without too much preparation was a selling point for the performer. But he's bringing a lot of himself, too. He added in the same Entertainment Weekly interview, "The thing that will be the major addition from me playing the Genie is the hip-hop base. I think that’ll be fun for people. I think it’ll stand out as unique even in the Disney world. There hasn’t been a lot of that hip-hop flavor in Disney history!"
He's got a point — and if there was ever a time and person to do it, it's Will Smith, right now.