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Top 10 Fun Facts about Aladdin

VO: Lisa Yang
This classic Disney movie may have been around for quite some time but there are so many fun facts you may not have known about it! Did you know whtat Disney had a unique ploy to entice Robin Williams to come on board? That Aladdin Originally Had a Mother? That Jafar Was Inspired By Maleficent?
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Top 10 Fun Facts About Aladdin

You ain’t never heard of facts like these! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Fun Facts About Aladdin.

For this list, we’re taking a look at interesting trivia surrounding Disney’s 31st animated feature film.

#10: Disney Had a Unique Ploy to Entice Robin Williams

When producers/directors Ron Clements and John Musker wrote “Aladdin,” they only had one actor in mind to play the larger-than-life Genie: the incomparable Robin Williams. However, Hollywood A-listers weren’t really into doing animated films in the early ‘90s. As such, the pitch had to be as dynamic and engaging as possible. Eric Goldberg, Genie’s supervising animator, thus took a bit where Williams discusses schizophrenia and created an animated scene where Genie grows multiple heads and argues with himself. When Williams saw the mock-up, he was sold. And the rest is history… no, mythology… oh, we don’t care!

#9: Aladdin Never Says, “Good Teenagers, Take Off Your Clothes”

For years, many have tried to prove that Disney is implanting subliminal messages into their films. One of these claims revolves around a scene in “Aladdin” where the titular character tells Rajah the tiger, “Good teenagers, take off your clothes.” The conspiracy theory has been debunked numerous times by those who worked on the film; Clements and Musker have stated that the actual line spoken is “Good tiger, take off and go.” While it seems a little far-fetched that Disney would include such a brazenly explicit line in one of its films, there are those that believe it really happened. The line was ultimately cut from all future versions of the film to avoid further complications.

#8: Jasmine Was Supposed to Be a Spoiled Brat

The girl that Aladdin risks his life for was originally written a little differently. In the finished film, Jasmine is a sweet but rebellious princess who is longing for adventure outside the palace walls. However, early versions of the character depicted her as a stuck-up rich girl who only cared about how she looked. The spoiled incarnation of the character even had a song titled “Call Me a Princess.” Thankfully, the movie’s creators had a change of heart, ultimately deciding that Jasmine’s materialistic demeanor would be a turnoff to audiences. Don’t they know she isn’t a prize to be won?

#7: Aladdin Originally Had a Mother

One of Aladdin’s defining characteristics is that he is a loner; a young man trying to make his way in life on the tough streets of Agrabah without any parental support. However, early drafts of the story included Aladdin’s mother, though they didn’t have the best relationship. The idea made it far enough into the production that lyricist Howard Ashman wrote a song titled “Proud of Your Boy” for the eponymous character, describing how tough it was to please his mother. While Aladdin’s mother – and that song – were eventually nixed by Disney studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, the ballad did make it into the Broadway version of the film.

#6: The Man Who Voiced Jafar Plays Him in the Stage Musical

Most actors are lucky if they get to participate in one Disney production throughout their career. But for multi-talented actor Jonathan Freeman, he pretty much has a monopoly on one of the studio’s most iconic villains. Be it film, TV, or even video games, Freeman was the one providing Jafar’s iconic voice. When it came time for “Aladdin” to be adapted to the stage, it seemed only natural for Freeman – who also has a lot of stage experience – to give that a go. He has played Jafar since the musical began in Seattle in 2011 and when it moved to Broadway in 2014. He was probably over the moon to take on the twisted villain again.

#5: Jafar Was Inspired By Maleficent

Few Disney villains inspire as much hatred as the evil Grand Vizier of Agrabah. But to get his twisted and evil demeanor just right, supervising animator Andreas Deja took a page from one of the famous Nine Old Men: Marc Davis. Davis had designed Maleficent for “Sleeping Beauty,” creating the iconic villain we all know and hate. And come on, these two have to be related! Both characters carry a magical staff, have birds for henchmen, and in the end, turn into massive reptiles hell-bent on destroying their film’s main character. Who knows, maybe Jafar and Maleficent are long lost evil siblings?

#4: Complaints Caused Disney to Change the Lyrics to “Arabian Nights”

The issue stemmed from some lyrics that in retrospect Disney should have figured would make some people angry. This song originally had the line, “Where they cut off your ear, if they don’t like your face.” It isn’t surprising that the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee took issue with these lyrics. However, since it had already been released, Disney was hard-pressed to recall the film. A compromise was reached whereby all future releases of “Aladdin” would replace the lyrics in question with “Where it's flat and immense and the heat is intense.” Nice save, Disney.

#3: Robin Williams Changed the Entire Art of Voice Acting

Before “Aladdin,” voice acting was largely reserved for people who had specifically trained for it. But when the character of Genie was being written, it became clear only one man could do it. Robin Williams was a household name, with over a decade’s worth of iconic roles in both film and TV, and even a voice role in “FernGully: The Last Rainforest” alongside Christian Slater and Tim Curry. But when he accepted the role of the Genie, it forever changed voice acting. Although it went against his wishes, the film was marketed with Williams’ involvement as a major selling point, allowing the Hollywood elite to realize that animated movies could be a whole lotta fun.

#2: Aladdin Was Visually Based On Tom Cruise

If you found yourself wondering why some of Aladdin’s mannerisms seemed familiar, don’t be alarmed. It just means you’ve probably seen “Top Gun” one too many times. When the film was originally conceived, character sketches of Aladdin were modeled after everyone’s favorite time traveller, Michael J. Fox. However, Disney executives found that the character was a little too soft around the edges and needed to be toughed up. To achieve the right look, animators opted to make the street rat a combination of Tom Cruise and a Calvin Klein model... wearing MC Hammer’s pants. Oh… and Princess Jasmine? Her look was largely inspired by animator Mark Henn’s sister!

#1: Animators Were Forced to Scrap Months of Work

In April 1991, the “Aladdin” team had been working for almost a year on a written draft and several storyboards. When everything was finally shown to studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, he was not impressed. On a day that came to be known as “Black Friday,” Katzenberg ordered the film re-written and re-designed. Entire characters were taken out of the script, Princess Jasmine’s character was fleshed out and the eponymous hero’s personality got tweaked to be more like Harrison Ford. To make matters worse, he refused to push back the release date. With some new screenwriters – and probably a magic lamp – the film’s plot was revamped in just eight days!

Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite fun fact about “Aladdin?” For “A Whole New World” of Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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