Will Smith is laughing off the backlash over his blue genie in the upcoming live-action film “Aladdin.”
Everyone got a first look at Smith’s high-ponytail-wearing character back in December, but movie buffs couldn’t help but notice that his Genie wasn’t blue like the animated movie’s Robin Williams-voiced original.
“What could Will Smith possibly have done to deserve this?” Buzzfeed host Saeed Jones tweeted on Dec. 19. “Jada is gonna have to do a whole episode of (‘Red Table Talk’) about this hair piece.”
Despite criticism and many memes that ensued, Smith appears to be unbothered by the reactions on social media.
“It was very funny,” he said during an interview with Empire. “There was a Sonic the Hedgehog/Genie frog. Everything is under such critical scrutiny.”
Related: Twitter is roasting Will Smith as the new ‘Aladdin’ Genie: ‘Sinbad on a diet’
More: How bad is Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ blue Genie problem after the Will Smith reveal tanked?
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BAM!! First look at the Genie ?♂️, Princess Jasmine, and #Aladdin! Check Me Rockin’ the Top Knot Ponytail Vibes in @entertainmentweekly ? (and yes, I’m gonna be BLUE! 🙂 This is how the Genie is in Human / Disguise Form. My character will be CGI most of the movie.)
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Smith, 50, admitted to Empire that he’s still adjusting to the digital age and trolling: “I came up in an era where there was no internet. … It’s a new thing that I’m trying to get a handle on.”
Fans’ wishes were granted when a trailer for the live-action film dropped in February, introducing Will Smith’s blue Genie to the world. However, social media users still weren’t satisfied, calling his character too blue.
“Are we sure this is Will Smith as Genie from #Aladdin and not #Avatar?” Scott Fishman tweeted on Feb. 10.
Related: Twitter rips Will Smith’s ‘too blue’ Genie after ‘Aladdin’ trailer airs during the Grammys
Will Smith stars as Genie in "Aladdin." It hasn't been all smiles. (Photo: WALT DISNEY)
His character did appear to win over some cynics in March after Disney shared the first full-length trailer for “Aladdin,” showcasing his original twist on the song “Friend Like Me.”
In the trailer, Smith rapped the number that was performed by Williams in the 1992 animated film and won a best-original song Oscar.
Disney's new extended 'Aladdin' trailer is here.
The Walt Disney Studios
Director Guy Ritchie told Empire that he was relieved by the positive reactions.
“It even came with apologies from the cynics who were so adamant initially,” Ritchie, 50, told the magazine. “I’ve never seen apologies in that world. I thought, ‘Oh well, great, we’re back to where I’d hoped we’d be.’ “
The new “Aladdin” premieres May 24.
Contributing: Maeve McDermott
Related: Will Smith is a rapping blue genie in new ‘Aladdin’ trailer
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