Live action "Aladdin" struggles to find lead actor

Aladdin discovers the lamp in the 1992 animated film "Aladdin."


One of Disney's next big live-action remakes has hit a bit of a snag.

The studio has tapped "Sherlock Holmes" director Guy Ritchie to bring '90s animated classic "Aladdin" to life, but so far the production's search for actor to play the title has come up empty.

Ritchie and casting director Randi Hiller launched a global search in March for the right actors to play street urchin Aladdin and princess Jasmine, with roughly 2,000 actors and actresses reading for the part, but that search has gone on so long that it has pushed back the start of the production, which was set to begin this month, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Producers are looking for a male in his 20s who can act and sing for the musical film, and the actor in question must be of Middle-Eastern or Indian descent. The studio is likely to cast a newcomer, according to the report, despite initial studio interest in "Lion" star Dev Patel and "Rogue One" star Riz Ahmed for the role of Aladdin.

Will Smith previously signed on to play the genie, a role made famous by Robin Williams.

Production on the film is now slated to begin in August, and the studio won't sign off on their pick for Jasmine until they conduct chemistry tests with the as-yet-unknown male lead.

Disney's previous live-action remakes have been hugely successful, with "Cinderella" bringing in $543.5 million worldwide and this year's "Beauty and the Beast" earning $1.3 billion worldwide. A sequel to "The Jungle Book" is in the works, as well as live-action versions of "Lion King" and "Mulan."