To coincide with next month’s release of the Diamond Edition of Aladdin, Disney planned an amazing special screening at Walt Disney’s Studios.
Along with the movie’s creative team and their families, bloggers were invited to experience this Classic on the big screen. Actor Scott Weinger (the voice of Aladdin) talked to ThatsItMommy about this opportunity to share Aladdin with a legion of multi-generational fans and his own family.
“They loved it. You know Aladdin is a fantastic movie and it’s hilarious but it has some scary moments. It was pretty incredible watching it with my wife, my kid and his little friends,” he said at the event which screened the movie to a full house.
Aladdin, of course, still holds up. The movie’s opening with the Cave of Wonders continues to terrify audiences! We shared that with Weinger who laughed, “The funny thing is, I’ve got a little piece of trivia. It is Frank Welker, who is also the voice of Abu the monkey. So it’s pretty incredible. I love that about voice actors. The scary guard, who says ‘I’ll have your hand for a trophy,’ he’s the voice of Winnie the Pooh. That’s Jim Cummings.”
The story of the street rat youth wanting to win the love and respect of the brave princess is incredibly timeless. We talked about how the place was filled with as many adults as children, as many boys as here were girls. Weinger noted, “Now there is a generation of people, I guess more than one, who grew up with that movie. It’s like it was their childhood. A few generations it feels like. It definitely has a huge crossover situation where it’s funny because it’s called Aladdin.”
Aladdin has solidified itself as one of Disney’s most iconic contributions. “People think, ‘Oh it’s a boy movie, it’s gonna appeal to boys’ which it does in a way that I know that Disney would love every animated movie to. But it also has massive Princess appeal like Princess Jasmine. There are a lot more kids dressed up like Jasmine than there are Aladdin. I have a son so that’s my frame of reference and he’s such a boy, you know? His best friend Asher’s little sister Ella was here in her Princess Jasmine dress. I was so proud sitting next to my wife who’s a big time feminist and Jasmine is very much an animated Disney female feminist heroine. So it’s one of those movies that they were able to just have both genders fall in love with it. And it’s pretty great that was the sort of appeal of the movie. Boys, girls and grown-ups. It had a little something for everybody.”
At the core, Aladdin is also about friendship, as well as just being yourself. The Genie, voiced by the late-great Robin Williams, served as Aladdin’s best friend who was an encouraging force to the younhero. His incredible performance made Genie one of Disney’s most recognizable characters. Even before filming Weinger was a fan. “For me, I was so in awe of him. I’m such a huge fan of his. I mean I literally, way before I got the part, I had his poster on my wall. I had Dead Poets Society on my wall. I had a Mork toy from Mork and Mindy.”
Williams had that power to just speak to you in his roles. Not only did he feel like Aladdin’s friend, he felt like your friend. If you grew up on the movie, it taught you your earliest lesson in not breaking promises to your friends for selfish reasons. Genie’s reaction to Aladdin initially not freeing him is still very resonant and important. You cared about the relationship. We asked Scott if he had the opportunity to record with Williams and how the universal bond of Aladdin and Genie was formed. “We had a great rapport working together. He was so funny. He was hilarious. He was very quiet and soft spoken and then when the camera would roll he just turned it on. He became Robin Williams. It was incredible.”
It was fun to see the movie that morning with the knowledge that even those behind it came out because they too are Disney fans. Ron Clements the co-writer and director even introduced it for Scott who was so excited to show it to his son for the first time. They live and breathe it like we do. As a writer, producer and working actor for Disney, it’s as if it’s all come full circle for Scott and his wife who also works in the Disney family. “It’s fantastic, first of all my son loves it. There’s a Disney store on the lot and its paradise whenever we get a break, we’ll wander over there and buy him some new pajamas and some new toys. My coworkers make fun of me because I always walk to my car with a Disney bag. We’re very proud of our association with Disney.”
The legacy of Aladdin was Scott’s career starting point and how special it is to sit at the studio lot talking about it isn’t lost on him. “It really is surreal for me, I walk by the studio where I worked as a fifteen year old kid and here I am as an adult. We were shooting an episode of ‘Blackish’ that I wrote right outside that studio last year and it blew my mind. I saw Aladdin for the first time at that theater, here I am as a dad, a grown-up and it was such a great experience.”
Disney’s Aladdin ‘The Diamond Edition’ is set for release October 13th!