Rub one out? You’ll rub more like thirteen jewels from the genie’s lamp of trivia from Disney’s Aladdin. Don’t you dare close your eyes to this whole new world of cool stuff from your friends like us.
13. During the course of recording the voices, Robin Williams improvised so much they had almost sixteen hours of material.
12. Because Robin Williams ad-libbed so many of his lines, the script was rejected for a Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award nomination.
11. Because of the scheduling conflicts with Star Trek: The Next Generation, Patrick Stewart was forced to turn down the role of Jafar. He has said in interviews that this is his biggest regret.
10. The opening scene with the street merchant was completely unscripted. Robin Williams was brought into the sound stage and was asked to stand behind a table that had several objects on it and a bedsheet covering them all. The animators asked him to lift the sheet, and, without looking, take an object from the table and describe it in character. Much of the material in that recording session was not appropriate for a Disney film.
9. While recording this movie, Robin Williams frequently received calls from Steven Spielberg, who at the time was working on the Holocaust film Schindler’s List. He would put him on speaker phone so he could tell jokes to the cast and crew to cheer them up.
8. In the preview screenings for the movie, audiences did not applaud after the big song numbers. The animators wanted applause and so somebody stuck the Genie with an “Applause” sign at the end of “Friend Like Me.” The joke worked and the sign was kept for the movie.
7. To capture the movement of Aladdin’s low-cut baggy pants, animator Glen Keane looked at videos of rap star M.C. Hammer.
6. When the Genie sings “Friend Like Me” the line “Scheherazade had her thousand tales.” Scheherazade was, of course, the supposed author of the stories from A Thousand and One Arabian Nights, which Aladdin comes from. While there were not actually a thousand tales, she did supposedly keep the sultan entertained for 1,001 nights.
5. A section of the original lyric for the opening song “Arabian Nights” was altered after the movie’s theatrical release. Arab-American groups claimed that it was racist, so the line was changed. The lyrics originally were, “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.” Although the film had already been released, Disney agreed to change it on the video release and any subsequent theatrical releases, and so the new lines, “Where it’s flat and immense, and the heat is intense,” replaced the offensive lines.
4. This was the second Disney animated feature to use fully-rendered and textured 3-D CGI-moving backgrounds in combination with the traditionally animated character animation. A technique that was expanded upon which was previously seen in Beauty and the Beast.
3. The two men in the crowd that Aladdin pushes through are caricatures of two of the directors (John Musker and Ron Clements). The original plan was to use film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, but they could not get permission.
2. On what came to be known among the animators as Black Friday, then Disney head Jeffrey Katzenberg told the team to scrap virtually everything they had been working on for months and start all over again, where he also refused to move the film’s release date. The directors were able to completely turn around the film’s new plot and screenplay in just eight days.
1. Originally, Aladdin was supposed to use his second wish in order to get through an obstacle course designed to test Jasmine’s suitors. The production team eagerly approached the idea of scripting and animating a fabulously elaborate action sequence but could not get the idea to work in practice, and ended up going for the much simpler solution of Aladdin being jumped by guards and then having to use the second wish to save his life.
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