‘Aladdin’: Why Mena Massoud Didn’t Run Around Shirtless In Live-Action Movie

Not many belly buttons can be spotted in the live-action ‘Aladdin,’ which was an intentional decision to avoid ‘distracting’ the audience.

In the 1992 animation Aladdin, the hero flies on his magic carpet, falls in love with Princess Jasmine and goes on adventures with Genie all while baring his pecs in harem pants and a purple vest (well, except for when he pretends to be Prince Ali Ababwa). But the live-action Aladdin (played by Mena Massoud) covers up his muscles in a striped shirt and red vest, as seen in the remake of the classic Disney film that hit theaters on May 24. If you think the new prince’s outfit seems unusually modest for the heat of the fictional city Agrabah, that isn’t a coincidence.

“For the same reason why we thought it wasn’t appropriate for Princess Jasmine to be flashing her belly button for half of the film, we also felt that once you make that leap from cartoon into live-action, you really have to make some adjustments,” costume designer Michael Wilkinson told Entertainment Weekly in an interview published on May 21. “We thought having so much skin showing on Aladdin for the whole film would be quite distracting on a human actor as opposed to a cartoon character.”

Jasmine (played by Naomi Scott) was treated to the same wardrobe makeover. For the live-action film, a nude bodice covers her midriff in between the turquoise cropped top and harem pants set that was made iconic in the animation.

If you look closely at the world building in the live-action Aladdin, the new dress code applies to everyone! “We wanted to, of course, refer to the iconic image from the animated film but within the context of the world we were creating around Jasmine, [such as] the way the courtiers dress and the way the people from the market town dress,” Michael, the costume designer, continued. “It really felt more appropriate to do something that referred to the crop top that we see in the animation but we extended the [top’s] line down, we had almost a flesh-colored fabric through the waist, but because it was more of a formal outfit for the palace court, it’s quite restrictive.”

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