The Aladdin live-action movie has sparked some controversy after Tom Hardy was cast as one of the best villains in Disney’s history, Jafar. We love Disney but they have to stop the whitewashing. Let’s talk about five other great actors that could have played Jafar instead.
Omid Abtahi would make a great Jafar. He is on the younger side but has shown off his acting skills in shows and movies such as American Gods and Argo. Not only is he a screen actor, he has done lots of voice acting on video games which would lend itself well to Jafar’s dynamic voice.
Riz Ahmed played a strong and defiant character in Disney’s newest Star Wars movie, Rogue One. He can also do very dramatic acting which can be seen on the show The Night Of. His facial structure has great angles that lend to a Jafar-look plus he has a menacing look when he wants to. He’d do an awesome job.
Rami Malek has captivated audiences with his role in Mr. Robot. He’s won over critics and actors alike by winning two Golden Globes and other notable awards for this role. Jafar always struck me as a bit off in the mental arena and if anyone can play insanity well, it would be Rami.
Maz Jobrani is a comedian and has had small roles in dozens of TV shows. He is a great age for Jafar and has the humor to play such a ridiculously awesome villain. He has the acting chops to back it up and it’s about time he gets a big role that isn’t a type-casted terrorist.
Waleed Zuaiter has been acting since 2000 and has had a role in just about every genre. He’s recently been doing theater work and was applauded for his portrayal of an Iraqi translator in the critically acclaimed, award-winning new play Betrayed. If stage acting doesn’t scream Jafar, I don’t know what does.
Any one of these actors would bring something unique and wonderful to the role of Jafar. While I love Tom Hardy, he isn’t right nor should be in this role. Hollywood and especially Disney can and should do better for actors of color. There is still time to recast. (cough cough) *gives Disney the side eye*