'Aladdin': Naomi Scott explains why Princess Jasmine's story has been updated for 2019
The stars of Disney’s huge new live-action movie remake, Aladdin, have revealed how Princess Jasmine’s story has been updated for the 2019 film, to give the character a more feminist ending.
The new Disney movie, which stars Power Rangers star Naomi Scott as Jasmine, Mena Massoud in the title role, and Will Smith as the Genie, is a live-action retelling of the classic 1992 Disney animation.
Naomi Scott spoke to Yahoo about how Princess Jasmine’s plot, and both the character’s ending and the finale of the film, differs from the original Disney animated film.
The 1992 animated film ends with the Princess Jasmine’s father, the Sultan, changing the law which had previously stopped Aladdin and Jasmine from being together – where she once was bound by law to marry another royal, the Sultan realises their love and changes the law to allow her to marry whoever she wants, meaning she can now be with the self-proclaimed “street rat”, Aladdin.
But in the 2019 live action remake, Jasmine’s story ends with her father making her the Sultana herself – and in doing so, she uses her own ruling power to change the law which had stopped her and Aladdin from being together.
“I love the fact that the power is then in in her hands, and that she becomes the Sultana,” Naomi Scott revealed to Yahoo, “She's like, ‘Well, I'm a boss lady, so I’ll just change the law!’ And she's actively pushing forward her own narrative. I just love that.”
“At the end of the day, I think that she is the right person for the job when it comes to leading her people, because she’s been studying and she is that politician. Those differences just really make it more relevant to a modern audience,” says Scott.
Scott went on to describe how the Sultan’s story has been updated to reflect that too: “The fact that her father realises that ‘I didn’t see it before, but yes, you are the leader.’ I think that's really great to have a character that goes through his journey of actually realising that he was holding her back, that he was fearful. I think sometimes that we are held back by our fear, and we're unable to progress.”
In the 2019 remake, Jasmine also gets her own brand new song, defiantly performed by Scott in the film and written by long-time Disney composer Alan Menken, who wrote the music for the original Aladdin animation: the empowerment anthem, ‘Speechless’.
Scott thinks updating Jasmine’s story was an important part of the process, explaining, “It’s been 27 years since the original, so a lot has changed and progressed. But Princess Jasmine was literally my favourite princess, because I could see myself in her, and she made me feel empowered. And I really wanted to keep that feeling, but just update her and modernise her. I think that there was room to really give her more ambition.”
Aladdin actor Mena Massoud also spoke to Yahoo about how that modernisation has impacted the rest of the new film, explaining, “It was one of the ways that we wanted to contemporise this and then make it relevant. So Princess Jasmine is definitely more empowered in this and Aladdin's journey now differs a little bit because a part of his journey is helping empower her, and encouraging her to do what she thinks she'd be good at.”
Aladdin hits cinemas on the 22 May 2019.