It’s been more than 25 years since the release of Aladdin and more than 13 years since the release of Hitch. Why am I putting both of these EQUALLY classic films in the same sentence? Well, it’s because it looks like they might be coming together to give us the crossover we always knew we wanted — nay, needed.
During Disney’s Tuesday presentation at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, executive Cathleen Taff previewed Guy Ritchie’s upcoming live-action Aladdin adaptation and, specifically, Will Smith’s role as the Genie. Noting that they didn’t want to “replicate” the late Robin Williams’ iconic performance from the 1992 film, Taff described Smith’s turn as a “little Fresh Prince, little Hitch, and a whole lot of attitude.”
First off, for Will Smith fans who have stayed true through Concussion, Collateral Beauty, and Suicide Squad, that last sentence is literally music to our ears. But secondly, on greater examination, Taff’s quote begs the question: Is the new Aladdin really just the Hitch sequel we’ve been waiting for?
Yes, Will Smith now plays both Alex Hitchens and the Genie — that was the easy one. Let’s dive deeper, though.
Both of these characters go about their job in a very discrete manner, because they can’t let the entire world know of their talents and abilities or they’d constantly be hounded for help. But, when we do see them use their powers, it’s always to help a regular Joe who isn’t exactly killing it with ladies score a woman perceived to be way out of their league. For Aladdin, it’s Princess Jasmine. And for Kevin James’ Albert Brennaman, it’s Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta), a New York heiress, which is basically the 2005 version of a princess. Also, Genie and Hitch are known for giving their subjects hands-on dance lessons.
Case closed. Now we just need Disney to pony up and make that inevitable — and necessary — Eva Mendes cameo happen.
Aladdin Hitch 2 flies into theaters on May 24, 2019.