Disney’s live-action Aladdin is under fire once more.
This time, for darkening the skin of actors in Asian roles.
According to The Sunday Times, the studio has been darkening the skin of white actors for roles which require skills ‘not readily available’ in the Asian community.
“Disney has admitted ‘browning up’ dozens of white actors for Asian crowd scenes in the live action version of its animated classic,” they revealed. “The company says it resorted to darkening white people for roles requiring skills that could not be readily found in the Asian community, such as stuntmen, dancers, and camel handlers.”
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Of course, the studio has swiftly come under fire for this…
After all, many have reasoned that with an Asian community over 1 million persons strong near the filming location of Surrey, they surely could have found locals willing to take up a variety of extras of the correct ethnic background.
Disney has since responded to the report:
“This is the most diverse cast ever assembled for a Disney live action production,” they claimed. “More than 400 of the 500 background performers were Indian, Middle Eastern, African, Mediterranean and Asian.”
However, some have already claimed the studio has not done enough.
Kaushal Odedra worked as a stand-in for the leading actor, and claims to have witnessed twenty ‘very fair-skinned’ actors waiting for their skin tone to be changed, presumably with make-up.
“On one set, two palace guards came in and I recognised one as a Caucasian actor, but he was now a darkly tanned Arab,” he claimed. “I moved inside the marquee where there were 10 extras and two were Caucasian, but they had been heavily tanned to look Middle Eastern.”
I have to wonder what Disney was thinking.
After all, the live-action Aladdin has already come under fire for supposed whitewashing after Caucasian actor Billy Magnussen was written an entirely new role which did not appear in the original.
Director Guy Ritchie is yet to comment.
Disney’s live-action Aladdin stars Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith.
Guy Ritchie will direct, based on a script he co-wrote with John August.
Disney’s live-action Aladdin heads to cinemas on 24 May 2019.