Fury as Disney ‘browns up’ white actors to star in Aladdin despite filming next to one million-strong Asian community
Disney has been slammed after bosses admitted browning up its white extras during filming of Aladdin.
The eagerly anticipated live action production, which stars US actor Will Smith as Genie, is currently being filmed by director Guy Ritchie at Longcross studios in Surrey.
But despite production taking place under 30 miles from London, a city with a community of over one million Asian people, Disney said it was forced to bring in white actors to fill background roles.
The studio giant said positions for stunt men, dancers and camel handlers could not be filled for the film, which comes out in May next year.
However, bosses said the new version of Aladdin is the most diversely cast production in Disney’s history.
The studio said that 400 of the 500 background performers were Indian, Middle Eastern, African, Mediterranean and Asian, reported the Sunday Times.
A fresh take on the much-loved animation from 1992, the film is set in the fictional Arabian state of Agrabah.
British-Indian Naomi Scott is playing Jasmine and Egyptian-born Canadian Mena Massoud is playing the lead role of Aladdin.
However, despite Disney’s protestations, a man who worked on the film has claimed there were more white actors used than the studio would like to make out.
Extra Kaushal Odedra, 32, was a stand in for a lead star in the film and told the Times he saw up 20 ‘very fair skinned’ actors waiting to have their skin darkened in make up tents.
Aladdin extra Kaushal Odedra, 32, was a stand in for a lead star in the film and said he saw up 20 ‘very fair skinned’ actors waiting to have their skin darkened in make up tents
He also claimed Caucasian extras were even being browned up for crowd shots.
‘Disney are sending out a message that your skin colour, your identity, your life experiences amount to nothing that can be powered on and washed off’, he told the Times.
Mr Meer, a member of the Broadcast, Entertainment, Cinematograph and theatre union’s black members’ committee, was equally critical and refuses to believe Asian extras could not have filled the necessary roles.
He said: ‘Failing to hire on-screen talent of the right ethnic identity to meet the clear needs of this productions is just plain wrong. We expect better from all filmmakers.’
Sir Ridley Scott found himself into a race row for his film Exodus: Gods and Kings. After he cast Christian Bale as Moses and Australian Joel Edgerton as Ramses
This is not the first Hollywood production that has found itself facing the ire of fans and campaigners for being ‘too white’.
Sir Ridley Scott has found himself embroiled in a race row after casting host of white stars as Egyptians in his 2014 film Exodus: Gods and Kings.
Oscar-nominated Sir Ridley cast Christian Bale as Moses and Australian Joel Edgerton as Ramses, while there were also roles for Sigourney Weaver,and Aaron Paul.
Critics said it was ‘offensive’ and ‘unacceptable’ that white actors are playing the roles of Egyptians.
While Scott hit back by claiming if he cast unknowns in the lead role he would never had been able to finance the film’s £90million budget.