Twenty five years ago, Aladdin took Princess Jasmine on a magic carpet ride and opened up a whole new world for us in one of Walt Disney’s greatest productions. Twenty five years!!! Released in 1992, Aladdin became the first ever animated movie to gross more than $200 million. Did you know that this was the first animated movie to feature a celebrity voice-over (Robin Williams lent his voice for Genie)? We didn’t. So we got digging and as it turns out, there are a lot of facts about the movie, its cast and making that we didn’t know about.
We list the top 13 for you. Thank us later. And if you are a true-blue Disney fan like us…feel free to watch the movie tonight.
The character of Genie was created keeping Robin Williams in mind and in order to convince Williams to sign on, the animators created a short clip of the Genie doing one of Williams’ standup routines. Eric Goldberg, the lead animator, recalled, “I think what probably sold him was the one routine where he [Williams] says ‘Tonight, let’s talk about the serious subject of schizophrenia. No, it doesn’t! Shut up, let him talk!’ What I did was animate the Genie growing another head to argue with himself, and he [Williams] just laughed. He could see the potential of what the character could be.” Williams signed on the dotted line right after that.
This is one of the few Disney films where the lead actors didn’t do their own singing. This is primarily because, with Williams on board, they needed actors who could hold their own against his personality. The singing became a secondary requirement. In fact, the voice of Princess Jasmine was Linda Larkin, but her singing voice was Lea Salonga, while the voice of Aladdin was Scott Weinger but the singing voice was of Brad Kane.
In case Williams decided not to sign on, the producers had alternatives in mind including Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, John Candy, and Albert Brooks.
In the preview screenings, no one clapped after the songs, so the animators added an ‘Applause’ sign to encourage the audience to applaud after the song, ‘A Friend Like Me’. When this worked out, the filmmakers decided to keep that in the movie.
Williams recorded each of his lines in 20 different ways, which amounted to nearly 16 hours’ worth of recordings! *Talk about improvising*
The Genie impersonated 14 celebrities in the movie – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ed Sullivan, Groucho Marx, William F Buckley, Señor Wences, Robert De Niro, Carol Channing, Arsenio Hall, Walter Brennan, Mary Hart, Ethel Merman, Rodney Dangerfield, Jack Nicholson and Peter Lorre, to be exact. The Genie did impressions of Julius Ceasar and Pinocchio, too. (Trust us, we’ve checked!)
Patrick Stewart was the first choice to play the role of Jafar, but he had to turn it down due to conflicts with Star Trek: The Next Generation. Stewart really wanted the role, and later said that one of his biggest regrets was not being able to make it so.
Every time Aladdin, disguised as Prince Ali, lied, the plume on his turban fall forward. Recall the scene where he lies to Jasmine on the balcony before he takes her on the magic carpet ride.
Videos of American hip-hop artiste MC Hammer’s dancing helped animator Glen Keane create the movement of Aladdin’s pants.
In the original screenplay, rubbing the magic lamp granted unlimited wishes to Aladdin. Filmmakers finally decided that three wishes made the plot stronger and the stakes higher.
Danny DeVito and Joe Pesci both passed on the part of Iago, which finally went to comedian and voice-actor Gilbert Gottfried.
A Whole New World is the only Disney song to win a Grammy for song of the year.
The Goofy hat and Hawaiian shirt that the Genie wears at the end of the film are a nod to the costume Williams’ wore in Back to Neverland, a short film he did for Disney-MGM Studios in 1989.
Aladdin was originally modelled on Michael J Fox but was dismissed as “too cutesy”. The sketch artists added a few years to his age and removed his shirt, and the Cruise-inspired Aladdin was born.