What wizardry is this?
Why, it's Will Smith as the genie in the upcoming "Aladdin," that's what!
Entertainment Weekly pulled a magic trick out of its hat on Wednesday, releasing the cover of its First Look issue offering a peek at Disney's live-action film, due out in May 2019. On the cover: stars Naomi Scott as Jasmine, Mena Massoud as Aladdin and ... Will Smith as Genie!
And we are spellbound at the transformation. In the photo, Smith's hair has mostly been shaved off, except for a long topknot bound in a gold loop. He's also sporting a magnificent shaped goatee, which is also held in place by a small gold band.
To say nothing of his ornate blue-and-gold outfit, studded with gems and clasps and layers and ... we're swooning.
"I wanted a muscular 1970s dad," director Guy Ritchie explained in the article. "He was big enough to feel like a force — not so muscular that he looked like he was counting his calories, but formidable enough to look like you knew when he was in the room."
"I think it'll stand out as unique even in the Disney world," said Smith. "There hasn’t been a lot of that hip-hop flavor in Disney history."
But the Genie we're seeing on the cover might not be the full revelation; when Smith posted the cover on Instagram he announced "I'm gonna be BLUE!" in his caption, which hearkens back to the 1992 animated version of the film, in which Robin Williams played a very blue Genie.
Of course, there's much more at the article link, including a photo of Aladdin and Genie deep in conversation (this was also posted on Twitter), Aladdin and Jasmine out in the marketplace, a short video featurette taken during shooting and featuring the stars talking about making the film.
It's the first real look at the film since we got a too-brief teaser in October, showing us more atmosphere than character, and certainly no Smith.
But now we can truly say that the Genie is out of the bottle!