Let’s just unpack this bit of casting news. Recently Naomi Scott was cast as Princess Jasmine in the upcoming Live-Action Remake of Aladdin and some people are upset. Scott is half Indian and half British and Jasmine is Middle-Eastren which means for a lot of people that she isn’t White or Indian. The reason for her casting is that she can sing and dance. At least that is excuse given.
It’s a hard one. Personally I think Scott would have been better suited for Esmeralda, though I would rather see Gigi Radics in the role but this isn’t the first time Jasmine has played by a women of Indian Descent. In Once Upon a Time she was played by Karen David who can also sing and dance, watch Galavant, that show is awesome. One point people are making against Scott playing the role is that is was great chance by Disney to have a Middle Eastern woman in a prominent positive role. Another issue is that casting Scott looks like Disney doesn’t understand that Middle Eastern culture and Indian culture are different, even though some have defended Scott by saying there is overlap in the styling of Aladdin like the palace look like the Taj Mahal and Raja’s name. Also at Disney World Aladdin character frequent the Moroccan pavilion at Epcot. Disney has aways mixed vaguely similar cultures. I mean Agrabah is a combination of Arga and Baghdad, which is where Aladdin was originally supposed to be sets. Agra is an Indian city in Uttar Pradesh where the Taj Mahal is located.
Oh, boy am I generalizing today but a lot people feel that everyone should play any role and some feel that if you whitewash you have to cast everything like in voice acting in accordance with a character’s race and background and it just a can worms. First off Whitewashing is a BIG issue. If a character is a specific race and if it’s important to their character and setting than YES cast someone who fits the mold. I had no idea that years ago bitch about Chinese women playing Japanese women in Memoirs of a Geisha that should have been grateful they were at least East Asians. I did here people complaining about black people in the new Beauty and the Beast movie as historical inaccurate. Forget about the implications of a forgoten Prince hanging out after I guess the Revolution, it’s the race of few minor characters that irked some people.
Disney is in a unique position with its remake movies, they don’t need bankable actors. Sure, they help but people are going to see these movies more for nostalgia than the actors. So far with Aladdin, Aladdin is being played by Egyptian- Canadian actor Mena Massoud and Will Smith playing the Genie. If there reason for casting Scott was predicated on Singing and Dancing made they either rethink making these remake musicals or they could considering dubbing.
I think if Disney had expanded their search or at least rethought the singing necessity there might have been a better Jasmine. Scott might do fine in the role but I can understand both side of the argument of her casting. It seemed like filmmakers gave up trying to cast the role and settled for some who nearly had the right ethnic background.
Or maybe the film will make Agrabah a reverse Mughal-equse regime where the ruling and noble class are of Indian descent and the lower class are Arabic to justify this casting choice. (This will more than likely not happen.)Follow thehunchblog