Tom Hardy has found himself at the centre of fresh controversy concerning the potential casting of the 39-year-old actor as Jafar in Guy Ritchie’s live-action remake of Aladdin.
According to a report from femalefirst.co.uk, Ritchie has reached out to Hardy over potentially bringing him on board for the hotly anticipated Disney update having previously worked together on RockNRolla.
A source told The Sun: “Guy is a huge fan of Tom’s work and securing him would be a major coup. There have been conversations, and although nothing is set in stone and things are subject to change, he’s certainly one of Guy’s favoured choices.”
The casting of Hardy in the role of Jafar, the primary Arab antagonist in the 1992 original, would be a controversial choice and a prime example of Hollywood’s continued policy of casting white actors as characters of a different race.
Something of a long-standing issue in the world of Western film-making, it’s often been cited as part of an ongoing process that sees privileged white elites borrow from other cultures but refuse to properly acknowledge them on screen.
Critics suggest that, by not casting an actor of differing race, they are also reinforcing misguided ideas of racial hierarchy, believing that actors of other races would struggle on the big screen and fail to attract audiences – a reason often cited, but never proven.
Scarlett Johansson was the most recent star to come in for flack of this kind, after she was cast as a Japanese character in the film adaptation of the anime series Ghost In The Shell.
Aladdin, meanwhile, has its own patchy record when it comes to representing race on screen, with the look of 1992’s animated Aladdin based almost entirely on Tom Cruise – a white American actor – despite the character being of Arab descent.
Whether the controversy will be enough to put Hardy off the role remains to be seen but with the actor in huge demand at present, having just been cast in Venom, it may just be enough for him to turn to alternative projects.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.