Will Smith may not be the first actor to portray Aladdin‘s Genie, but he’s certainly adding his own flair to the role. The 50-year-old actor stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on May 6 to talk about the live-action Disney remake, and the big shoes left by Robin Williams that Smith tried to fill.
Smith admitted that at first, he hesitated to play Genie after Williams’s legacy. “Robin Williams smashed that role,” he told Fallon. “When you look at things like that, you always try to find what would you do differently . . what would you add to that? I looked at it and I didn’t feel like I wanted to touch it.”
However, after spending time with the directors and getting to know the character, Smith decided to give Genie another chance. He put a personal spin on the role, and even gave the Tonight Show audience a taste. Watch the video above to hear Smith’s hip-hop take on the beloved song “Friend Like Me.” If the Genie met The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the result would sound something like this.