Weinger played the iconic street rat in Disney’s 1992 animation, which has been re-imagined by Guy Ritchie in live-action form. Mena Massoud now plays that part, and it’s done extremely well at the box office: despite middling reviews, positive word-of-mouth has helped it to around $450 million worldwide in less than two weeks, against a budget of $183 million. But these live action remakes have been lambasted by some, for seemingly representing a lack of original storytelling ideas. What does Weinger think?
The actor had only positive things to say when asked about it by The Knockturnal on the red carpet.
“It’s a surreal experience [to be back],” he said – remarking that the location for the premiere was the same as for the animated original 27 years ago.
“I love that this is a cool new way to introduce the original movie to a lot of fans, a whole new generation of fans.
“I’m excited about it.”
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The 43-year-old was also asked about his feelings on Will Smith stepping in as the Genie – in place of the late Robin Williams.
“I’m a gigantic Will Smith fan and I have been since I was a kid, so I’m excited to see – I’m sure he crushed it,” he beamed.
Weinger played Aladdin multiple times, including in direct-to-video follow-ups such as The Return of Jafar, and Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
On TV he currently stars in Fuller House as Dr Steve Hale; a role he played on the original Full House in the early 90s.
Aladdin’s casting process has not been without controversy; with the involvement of Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine stirring some pushback when she was first announced – although her performance has been well-received by critics.
Massoud said in a recent interview with the New York Times: “The Middle Easterners want Aladdin to be a Middle Eastern story, and the Indians want Aladdin to be an Indian story.
“The truth is, it’s really a folk tale from the 1800s, and Agrabah is a fictional place that’s a culmination of India and Asia and the Middle East.”
He added: “In fact, in the original folk tale, Aladdin was actually of Chinese descent.
“So what we wanted to do with this was represent as many different cultures from that part of the world as possible.”
Aladdin is out now.