Actor Marwan Kenzari is in negotiations to play Jafar in Disney’s live-action Aladdin reboot from director Guy Ritchie. Nasim Pedrad has also joined the cast as Mara, a handmaid and friend to Jasmine. Several sources confirmed the news to variety.com.
He will join Naomi Scott, who will play Jasmine, Mena Massoud, who will portray the title character, and Will Smith, who will voice Genie (a role made famous by late Robin Williams in the animated classic of 1992).
John August, whose credits include Big Fish, wrote the new Aladdin script. The original animated movie was a comic take on the Arabic folk tale about a young man granted three wishes by a genie trapped in a lamp. This would be the first live action adaptation of the character. Aladdin is based on One Thousand and One Nights – a collection of folk tales that originated in the Middle East.
Aladdin was the highest-grossing film of the year in 1992, and won Oscars for Best Score and Best Song for “A Whole New World”. Jafar, the royal vizier of Agrabah, was the psychopathic primary antagonist of the film who wanted to take over the kingdom through conspiracies and ruthlessness.
Kenzari will soon be seen in Murder on the Orient Express a film based on Agatha Christie’s suspense novel of the same name where he plays the conductor. He also recently appeared in The Mummy with Tom Cruise, Ben-Hur, both of which were remakes of older movies, and The Promise.
Aladdin’s director Guy Ritchie is known for period and crimes movies like Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.