Alex Matthews For Mailonline

 

Disney has been slammed after bosses admitted browning up its white extras during filming of Aladdin.

The eagerly anticipated live action production, which stars US actor Will Smith as Genie, is currently being filmed by director Guy Ritchie at Longcross studios in Surrey.

But despite production taking place under 30 miles from London, a city with a community of over one million Asian people, Disney said it was forced to bring in white actors to fill background roles.

The studio giant said positions for stunt men, dancers and camel handlers could not be filled for the film, which comes out in May next year.

Disney has come under fire for the move, with BAFTA-nominated director Riaz Meer accusing them hurling an ‘insult to the whole industry’.

However, bosses said the new version of Aladdin is the most diversely cast production in Disney’s history.

The studio said that 400 of the 500 background performers were Indian, Middle Eastern, African, Mediterranean and Asian, reported the Sunday Times.

A fresh take on the much-loved animation from 1992, the film is set in the fictional Arabian state of Agrabah.

Guy RitchieAladdin

Aladdin, which stars Will Smith as Genie, is currently being filmed by director Guy Ritchie (left) at Longcross studios in Surrey. It is a fresh take on the much-loved 1992 animation (right)

British-Indian Naomi Scott is playing Jasmine and Egyptian-born Canadian Mena Massoud is playing the lead role of Aladdin.

However, despite Disney’s protestations, a man who worked on the film has claimed there were more white actors used than the studio would like to make out.

Extra Kaushal Odedra, 32, was a stand in for a lead star in the film and told the Times he saw up 20 ‘very fair skinned’ actors waiting to have their skin darkened in make up tents.

He also claimed Caucasian extras were even being browned up for crowd shots.

‘Disney are sending out a message that your skin colour, your identity, your life experiences amount to nothing that can be powered on and washed off’, he told the Times.

Mr Meer, a member of the Broadcast, Entertainment, Cinematograph and theatre union’s black members’ committee, was equally critical and refuses to believe Asian extras could not have filled the necessary roles.

He said: ‘Failing to hire on-screen talent of the right ethnic identity to meet the clear needs of this productions is just plain wrong. We expect better from all filmmakers.’