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Will Smith talks honoring Robin Williams as he adds his new flavor to the Genie in ‘Aladdin’


Walt Disney PicturesWill Smith is taking on the iconic role of the Genie in Disney’s live action film, Aladdin…and making it his own.

The original character was voiced by the late Robin Williams in the 1992 animated feature film. Smith said on ABC’s Good Morning America Monday that Williams completely “smashed” the part, so he felt pressure to approach the character in a different way.

“I watched the original and Robin, he just destroyed that thing,” Smith told GMA. “It was so intimidating. The one thing that I latched onto was the idea that it was going to be live action…I knew that left a little bit of room.”

“He revolutionized what you could do in these types of films,” Smith added of Williams. “He really changed using modern references and things like that. So for me, the hip-hop angle was the angle that I saw that would be my ‘in.'”

Smith said he listened to the soundtrack from the original movie to see how he could honor Williams while also putting his own spin on the character.

He said he realized that he ‘could pay homage to Robin, but then also be able to add my new flavor.”

Smith added, “This is the most fun I’ve ever had making a movie. It’s singing, it’s dancing, it’s rapping, it’s acting, it’s special effects, it’s action, it’s so much heart — the beautiful love story and Naomi [Scott]does a brilliant job as Princess Jasmine.”

Smith jokingly admitted that, while he’s made some “questionable” films in the past, this one is a winner.

“I can in good conscience encourage you to go see this one,” he said.

Aladdin hits theaters May 24.

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