Aladdin star Will Smith reveals son Jaden convinced him to take on the role as Genie - and admits following Robin Williams was "daunting"

10 May 2019, 16:46 | Updated: 13 May 2019, 12:33

Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Will Smith has vowed to bring a touch of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air to Aladdin.

Will Smith recently stepped into Robin Williams’ shoes to play the Genie in the new live-action version of Aladdin.

But the 50-year-old has now admitted he had reservations about joining the iconic Disney film until his son Jaden, 20, convinced him to say yes.

Speaking to heart.co.uk in Leicester Square, Will admitted: “I had three or four movies I was looking at at the time and Jaden was the one who first heard the idea of me being the genie.

“He was like ‘What why would you look at one more screenplay if you can play the genie?’”

Will Smith has opened up about taking on the iconic Genie role
Will Smith has opened up about taking on the iconic Genie role. Picture: PA Images

The actor - who is also dad to Trey and Willow - added: “His reaction was really the first reaction that made me say ‘oh wow there might be something there that I can find’.

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Directed by Guy Ritchie, the 1992 re-make follows Aladdin - played by Mena Massoud - as he comes across a magical lamp which is inhabited by a Genie ready to grant him wishes.

In the original, Robin Williams was widely acclaimed for voicing the cartoon character of The Genie, but in 2014 the star tragically committed suicide in his California home at the age of 63.

Speaking about following on from such a legend, Will told us: “It was quite daunting.

“What Robin Williams did, he didn’t leave a lot of room in the universe for new ideas with the Genie, he sucked them all up.

“So I wanted to pay homage to Robin but I also wanted to find a way to make it new and interesting without making it so different it no longer hits the nostalgic chords that these movies hit.”

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He added: “I feel like I found my way in and really the hip hop music was sort of the signature that I found for the genie.”

Will joined his co-stars at the European premiere for Aladdin in London last night (May 9) as they celebrated the upcoming release of the film on May 22.

The likes of Naomi Scott, who plays Princess Jasmine, and Mena Massoud also made an appearance at the star-studded bash.