By Iman Sadri
May 15, 2019
The Aladdin Premiere is less than one week away at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. And on the red carpet will be two Iranian born actors who are playing lead roles in the film. Nasim Pedrad starring as Dalia and Navid Negahban as The Sultan.
History is being made as two Iranians will be in the same Disney film. It is not the first Disney film to feature an Iranian born actor. Shaun Toub played Yinsen in Iron Man, also now a Disney franchise. Golshifteh Farahani starred in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Aladdin stars Will Smith as the Genie, Mena Massoud as the titular role, and Naomi Scott as Jasmine. What’s ironic is that Pedrad played in an Aladdin sketch during her time on Saturday Night Live. Now the Irvine native is starring in the big budget Disney version.
Film insiders estimate Aladdin will haul in over $90 Million on its opening weekend. In all possibility the film, due to its international popularity, could gross over $1 Billion at the box office.
Guy Ritchie directed the film which is getting high praise for casting Middle Eastern actors. Aladdin is set in the fictional city of Agrabah, which has many Arabian undertones. Massoud is Egyptian and Scott is of Gujrati Indian descent. Bravo to Disney, Guy Ritchie and Bob Iger for casting this film with cultural authenticity. Aladdin will be the box office smash of Summer 2019.
Iman Sadri is the founder of The Persian Observer and LA Smile Magazine