Disney's upcoming "Aladdin" movie has already stirred up some controversy.
Disney, when it's not shelling out tens of billions of dollars acquiring their competition one piece at a time, are in the middle of a live-action reboot phase of their own beloved cartoon catalog. Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast have already been released to nearly universal audience praise, with another retooling of The Lion King on the way from the studio in the coming years. Another live-action reboot that is currently in the works is Aladdin, a movie venture that has already courted its fair share of controversy with filming already in progress in London.
According to the Sunday Times, recent shoots have required over 100 local extras to be in the background of shots as various characters in the world from Aladdin - dancers and "camel handlers" were among the positions that needed to be filled. However, several members of the large cast have had large amounts of makeup used to supposedly darken their skin artificially. Kaushal Odedra, who acted as a stand-in for one of the principals, said that he saw at least 20 "very fair skinned" actors waiting outside makeup tents in order to have their "skin darkened."
"Disney are sending out a message that your skin colour, your identity, your life experiences amount to nothing that can be powered on and washed off,” Odedra added. “On one set, two palace guards came in and I recognized one as a Caucasian actor, but he was now a darkly tanned Arab,” he continued. "I moved inside the marquee where there were 10 extras and two were Caucasian, but they had been heavily tanned to look Middle Eastern." Thought Disney insists that the vast majority of extras are of Indian or Middle Eastern descent, that doesn't dispel the severity of "browning up" certain cast members.
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