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Where Is Aladdin Actually From?

A deep dive.

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It was reported this week that Disney is struggling to cast the role of Aladdin in the live-action remake of the 1992 animation.

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Disney didn't actually announce this themselves. Reports of the studio having issues finding their Aladdin came from anonymous sources quoted in the Hollywood Reporter earlier this week.

The news prompted a lot of people on social media to argue that it shouldn’t be difficult to cast the role, as there are plenty of young Bollywood actors who’d be perfect for it.

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However, other people said that Aladdin was a Middle Eastern character, and therefore should be portrayed by a Middle Eastern, not a South Asian, actor.

listen aladdin is middle eastern MIDDLE EASTERN so what u gon do is cast a MIDDLE EASTERN man. not indian, not anyt… https://t.co/mT75KNXOws

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So, the Aladdin story is from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, which is a collection of stories compiled in Arabic around a thousand years ago. But Aladdin only appeared in it when it was translated into French by Antoine Galland in the 18th century.

And while it feels like someone will be pissed off whoever ends up in the role, at least we’re not going to get another whitewashing controversy. Hopefully.

Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rachael Krishna at rachael.krishna@buzzfeed.com.

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