British filmmaker Guy Ritchie is in negotiations to direct the live-action remake of Disney’s Aladdin, TheHollywood Reporter announced today.
The 1992 film — which won the Oscar for Best Original Score — nabbed an early (partial) victory for the anti-racist pushback driving today’s conversations around political correctness. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee objected to lyrics from the movie’s opening track, “Arabian Nights,” which painted broad stereotypes of a violent “Arabian” region. The offending verse went:
Oh, I come from a land / From a faraway place / Where the caravan camels roam. Where they cut off your ear / If they don’t like your face. It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.
In response to the American-Arab group’s complaints, the Walt Disney Company replaced “Where they cut off your ear / If they don’t like your face” with “Where it’s flat and immense / And the heat is intense,” the New York Times reported in 1993. (The song did retain the “barbaric” barb.)
It’s hard to say what touch Ritchie, best known for highly stylized action films like Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,would bring to the cartoon classic. But many eyes will scan for stereotypes in any live-action portrayal of Aladdin’s fictitious main city of Agrabah — which 41 percent of Donald Trump voters favored bombing in December, according to data from the survey group Public Policy Polling. Nineteen percent of Democrats polled would also support the bombing—concerned, perhaps, about the city’s “barbaric” nature.