A few weeks ago, Disney announced that they’re working on a live action version of the movie Aladdin. Disney executives sent out a casting call, looking for actors and singers to fill the roles of Jasmine and Aladdin.
It’s extremely important that Disney casts actual Middle Eastern people for the movie. Although the movie isn’t the greatest in depicting Middle Eastern culture, as it mixed Middle Eastern culture and Indian culture together, it is still one of the few pieces of representation the Middle East has in Hollywood.
There is a huge amount of Middle Eastern actors and singers who would love to play in a huge movie like Aladdin, and they should not be ignored.
One person who is looking to become the new Aladdin is Armani Salado. He is an actor and singer who is of Persian, Dominican, Spanish, and Italian descent. He seems to be a great fit for the role of Aladdin, as he looks and sounds just like the character in the original movie.
Me singing ‘One Jump Ahead reprise’ Thanks to all the interviews about Aladdin. This is only the beginning !! pic.twitter.com/b5ahKdvVU0
— Armani (@armani_salado) February 7, 2017
I was able to get into contact with Salado to ask him a few questions about himself, his passion for acting, and his possible role in Aladdin.
1. So first, tell us a little bit about yourself. How old are you? How long have you been acting and singing?
I’m 21 years old and I’ve been acting since I was a child. I was always performing different scenes from movies in front of my family and then mimicking characters from shows, movies etc. I began performing in front of large crowds at the age of 12. I was part of a competitive martial arts team and we traveled nationally performing different shows such as phantom of the opera, power rangers, Star Wars. I began to act professionally around 17 years old when I landed my first agency in Orlando. When it comes to singing I never trained professionally. One of my sisters is an amazing singer; trained professionally and everything. So she would always teach me how to range my voice and how to perfect a tune.
2. What made you want to pursue careers in acting and singing?
Martial arts and weekends with my friends filming little shorts we’d come up with are what really made me fall in love with acting. I think I was born with the natural attraction to this art. Acting and singing are two forces I want to keep learning and getting better at. Watching my favorite actors, like Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, and Al Pacino, on screen gave me this inspired vibe and feeling of wanting to be on screen like them. It’s something I’ve always been drawn to do and it’s and honor and privilege to actually be able to act on screen and deliver a relatable character on screen .
3. What was it about Aladdin that drew your attention to it?
Ever since the animated movie came out I loved the fact that someone that looked like me was a character in a big movie and I could relate to and admire him. Having Persian ancestry, its an honor to be seen as a candidate for this iconic role of Aladdin. The way he portrays himself as a caring kid with barely little to give is something I was raised on. Help those who need a hand, give to those who need. The movie is super inspiring and the message it gives off is phenomenal. It’s a raw reality of starting from nothing, struggling through the battles of vanity and being humble, and ultimately triumphing with truth and honor. It’s an amazing story, honestly.
4) What do you hope to obtain from this movie, if you were to be casted? Any skills? Or experiences?
If I were to get casted, first I’d have to run around and scream for a little. But, really I’d hope to gain more knowledge of big budgeted films. The experience would be great. It’s Disney, everything they put out is great and I know that there is a lot of thought and process going into this movie. I feel like my singing will improve, also. They have training set aside for physical and voice work. I’m hoping my audition that was already sent in is what the casting directors are looking for. If I’m not the actor chosen, it would still have been an honor and privilege to even audition. Getting this far is something most people don’t get a chance to have or see, so I’m extremely grateful for that. If I were to get casted it would be the role of a lifetime and something I definitely would not take for granted.
5) Why do you think it’s important to cast actual Middle Eastern people for the movie?
The world is changing so fast and more and more movies are coming out that call for better representation of people of color. It’s important for diversity to be apart of Hollywood. As for Aladdin, it’s important to cast Middle Eastern actors because it will give a true authentic feel to the movie. People go to the movies to escape and be drawn into a story; they want to feel as if they’re actually there. So casting Middle Eastern actors will give off the realness people are looking for. Casting Middle Eastern actors will immaculate the magical vibe the animation radiated when it first came out.
6) And, finally, what advice would you give to aspiring actors or singers?
The advice I would give to aspiring actors and singers is: it will take time. It will be hard. There will be days that are so inspiring and awesome and bright, then there will be days that hurt and make you question if this is for you. To an actor, figure out who you are truthfully; your flaws, your strengths, and then let it all go when a character comes your way. As an actor, you are a canvas being painted on. Pick characters that you can portray with pure honesty. Challenge yourself. Kick down doors and introduce yourself. If someone says no that doesn’t mean it’s the end, it means you brush off and send your materials to the next casting director, the next agent. You are who you set yourself to be. One bad audition won’t define you as an actor and one great callback doesn’t mean you’re incredible. It’s all a process, and humbling yourself, while fighting to the top, will breed success and you’ll eventually reap what you sow. Never stop training as a singer or actor. we are constantly growing in our art, no matter how many awards we obtain or nominations we receive- study, grow, and never give up!
Aladdin is an iconic movie and fans will definitely want to make sure that they’re favourite movie will be produced properly. A huge part of that is the casting.
Hopefully, this interview gave you an idea of what kind of people are auditioning for the role.
It’s important to support up-and-coming actors, and Armani Salado is definitely someone many people would want to support, as he seems to be a talented actor and singer who will, one day, make it far.
Update: A recent photo of Armani in a Trump hat came to light. We don’t support Trump supporters, and certainly do not support Trump. At the time of this article we didn’t know Armani was a Trump supporter. Since this new information has come to light, we no longer support him as Aladdin.