Disney’s animated musical film “Aladdin” was released in 1992 and has since become a beloved classic.
The movie tells the story of a young man named Aladdin who finds a magical lamp and the genie inside that grants him three wishes. Along with his love interest Princess Jasmine and his trusty monkey Abu, Aladdin must defeat the evil sorcerer Jafar to save the kingdom of Agrabah. From the inspiration for Aladdin’s appearance to the animators’ use of computer animation to create the magic carpet, this movie has a lot of fascinating details. It’s no wonder that “Aladdin” has remained a beloved classic for almost 30 years.
But did you know that there are some forgotten secrets and trivia about this classic Disney movie? Let’s take a look at some of them.
1. Do you know that Jafar and Iago’s characters were swapped?
Jafar and Iago, the popular characters from Disney, have very unique personalities but it might surprise some fans to know that their original personalities were swapped. Initially, Iago had a hot temper and frequently lost control while Jafar was more patronizing and British. However, the creators of these characters decided that Jafar was better suited to be a sinister villain with a patronizing personality while Iago’s hot temper was a perfect fit for his character.
2. The voice artist for the role of Jasmine had to audition twice for the role.
During the making of the movie, Aladdin, Linda Larkin, the voice artist for the spirited and refined role of Princess Jasmine, had to audition again for the role. This was because Jeffrey Katzenberg, the head of Disney studios, had doubts about whether her voice was suitable for the character’s regal persona. However, Linda managed to impress the executives during her re-audition, and she eventually completed recording the entire role. Today, Linda Larkin is remembered as an iconic Disney princess.
3. Disney had to come up with innovative tactics to persuade Robin Williams for the role of Genie.
It is difficult to imagine Aladdin without the memorable voice of Robin Williams as the Genie, but it almost didn’t happen. In order to persuade Williams to take on the role, Disney resorted to some clever tactics by incorporating lines from his favorite comedy albums into the Genie’s animation. This approach successfully captured Williams’ interest and made the character one of the most beloved in Disney’s history.
4. Aladdin’s appearance was inspired from the Hollywood hunks:
If you were a child in the 90s, you might recognize Aladdin’s attractive appearance but you might not be able to identify who inspired his looks. Surprisingly, the inspiration for Aladdin’s physique and appearance comes from the popular actors Michael J. Fox and Tom Cruise. Knowing this information, you might be less surprised when you take another look at the character’s design. Before finding out about this, you might not have noticed the resemblance but now it is impossible to unsee.
5. Robin Williams inspired many actors to try voice acting
Before Aladdin, there was a clear distinction between actors and voice actors, and they rarely overlapped. It was uncommon for A-list actors, such as Robin Williams, to take on voice roles in animated films. However, Williams’ portrayal of the Genie in Aladdin marked a turning point, as it introduced a new era of voice acting and paved the way for other well-known actors and actresses to try their hand at it. Without Williams’ success in the role of the Genie, we may not have seen the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Tina Fey, and Alec Baldwin voicing characters in animated films today.
6. Aladdin was the first movie in history to entertain both the adults and children.
In 1992, Entertainment Weekly announced that Aladdin was scheduled to premiere during the busy Thanksgiving weekend and it was expected to provide entertainment for both children and adults – a first in the history of entertainment. Prior to this, it was uncommon for a major motion picture to be able to entertain the whole family. However, the clever and humorous writing in Aladdin, with its witty jokes and references, made it a hit with multiple generations and set a precedent for future Disney films that appeal to audiences of all ages.
7. Many actors were considered for the role of Jafar:
Jonathan Freeman was fortunate to secure the role of voicing Jafar and he could confidently say he had won the role. However, there were many other notable actors who were considered for the role and could have easily taken it from him. Some of these actors included Kelsey Grammer, Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, Ian McKellen, and John Hurt.
8. Robin Williams provided Steven Spielberg with much-needed comedic relief:
It may come as a surprise to some but during the recording of Aladdin, Robin Williams spent a considerable amount of time on the phone talking to Steven Spielberg, the director of Hook. At the time, Spielberg was working on the somber and depressing Schindler’s List, and Williams provided much-needed comedic relief for his friend.
9. Abu’s role was inspired from the real-life monkeys from the Los Angeles zoo.
Abu, the lovable and mischievous character in Aladdin, was based on real-life monkeys from the Los Angeles zoo. The animators visited the zoo frequently while developing their designs for Aladdin’s faithful companion. During their visits, the animation team even took the opportunity to video-tape the zoo’s community of capuchin monkeys which helped them better understand how to make Abu’s movements as realistic as possible on the screen. This level of dedication and attention to detail is impressive!
10. The Disney’s first non-European princess:
Disney’s princesses used to be exclusively based on European cultures and appearance before the introduction of Princess Jasmine. Unlike the other princesses, Jasmine was from Arabia in the Middle East, bringing some much-needed diversity to Disney’s iconic roles.
11. The brief appearance of Mickey Mouse in Aladdin:
The Disney animators seemed to enjoy their work as they incorporated a fun easter egg in Aladdin. During the moment when Jafar’s spell is broken and Princess Jasmine and Rajah are mid-transformation, Rajah briefly appears to resemble the iconic symbol of Disney, Mickey Mouse. Although the moment is very short and easy to miss, once noticed it is hard to forget.
12. Some guests appeared in Aladdin:
Disney, with its vast animated universe, seems to be a small world, as it included various quick appearances from other famous Disney characters in Aladdin. Beast from Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, and even Sebastian from The Little Mermaid made brief appearances, making the movie even more entertaining and enjoyable.
13. Robin Williams recorded an additional 16 hours of improvised content for the character Genie:
Robin Williams’ reputation as a comedy genius is well-earned and it’s no surprise that he is highly regarded in this field. Interestingly, Williams recorded an additional 16 hours of improvised content for the Genie character which is a testament to his remarkable talent for humor and improvisation. It’s truly an incredible legacy that he left behind.
14. Scott Weinger also played Steve Hale in “Full House”
Scott Weinger, the voice actor who played Aladdin, also portrayed Steve Hale, the boyfriend of DJ Tanner from the popular 90s family sitcom Full House. Additionally, Weinger dressed up as Aladdin for a cameo appearance in an episode of Full House that was filmed in Disney World. How amazing is that?
15. Jafar’s character was inspired from Maleficent:
Andreas Deja, the animator behind Jafar, took inspiration from another popular Disney villain, Maleficent, when designing the character. There are numerous similarities between the two, such as their use of evil magic, the presence of a bird companion, and their transformation into large, frightening reptiles. In many ways, Jafar can be considered a spiritual successor to Maleficent.
16. 513 people contributed in making “Aladdin”
You don’t have to just believe us, you can verify it by watching the credits of the movie. There are a total of 513 people who contributed to making this film a reality, which is quite an impressive number.
17. Princess Jasmine and Mulan’s iconic songs were sung by the same singer:
Lea Salonga, a talented singer, lent her beautiful voice to both Princess Jasmine and Mulan’s iconic songs. She is also known for her role as Aunt Myrna in the CW’s musical sitcom “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”.
18. Aladdin won two Oscars:
Aladdin received two Academy Awards but it was not eligible for any other awards due to Robin Williams’ improvisations during recording sessions. If it weren’t for his improvised lines, the movie might have been considered for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar. However, despite the missed opportunity, many people still appreciate Robin Williams’ creative and comedic contributions to the film.
19. Aladdin was the highest-grossing film of 1992, earning a total of $217 million in the United States and $504 million worldwide.
20. Aladdin’s record was broken:
The financial triumph of Aladdin, which was the first animated movie to earn more than $200,000,000, paved the way for other successful animated films, including The Lion King, Frozen, and Zootopia, all of which broke box office records after Aladdin’s success.
21. Siskel and Ebert declined the offer to make cameo appearances in Aladdin.
Disney initially planned for Siskel and Ebert to disapprove of Prince Achmed, Jasmine’s initial suitor. However, when the critics declined the opportunity, the film’s writers and directors, Ron Clements and John Musker, decided to include their own appearances in the scene. It’s unclear if the critics later regretted turning down the offer.
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