Who Is Naomi Scott, Aladdin’s Princess Jasmine?
This month, Naomi Scott will be making her biggest debut yet on the big screen, revamping a classic stereotype, the Disney princess, in Guy Ritchie’s live remake of Aladdin. The rising star speaks to Azza Arif about landing that career-defining leading role, how she handles ‘Hollywood disappointments’, and how she brings a new strength to Princess Jasmine’s character by ensuring that she plays her as the strong, confident character she deserves to be.
What do you want to achieve over the next 20 years?
I think it’s easy to chase a life that is seemingly ‘successful’. But more important to me is living a life of significance. I think every step along the way I like to check myself, why am I doing what I do? It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of ‘building your empire’, that once you get there, you’re the only one that’s in it. So the answer is, I don’t know, but I hope it’s significant.
Tell us about the time you got the call on landing the role of Princess Jasmine.
Well we knew we were getting the call soon and although I think we all had a good feeling about it, the process was so long that getting that call felt like a relief more than anything! I was asleep (hashtag time difference life) and my husband got the call and woke me up. I called my stylist and friend Zadrian Smith to tell him the news and he just replied “Girl bye” hung up on me, and called me back 5 minutes later!
How do you mentally, emotionally and physically prepare for a role?
I think each role is different. For Jasmine the costumes and sets are enough to make you feel like royalty, you hold yourself differently in those costumes and in that environment. I definitely am someone who goes off of my instinct, so a lot of times I like to simply know my lines, understand what my character is going through, what they want and just see what happens!
What can we expect from the return of one of Disney’s greatest love stories, Aladdin?
I think the best part is that it will give you so much more than you expect! It hits all the nostalgic beats that you want and need, but also gives you new moments that are incredibly powerful and relevant to the world we live in today. There is never a dull moment, you will laugh a lot and the moment Jasmine finds her voice…you may even shed a tear!
Tell us about your experience filming Aladdin. Were there any funny/ fun/ memorable moments that stood out?
The most memorable moment for me was filming the song “Speechless”. This song is about Jasmine making the tough decision to speak out against the injustice around her, even though she may not win. It’s an incredibly powerful song and we shot it as a one shot (continuous take). It’s an incredibly emotional song and I remember after the first take I had to hold myself back from getting too emotional because I had a few more takes to do! I just remember meditating and conserving my energy between takes because it was a very busy day, with a lot of people and in those moments you have to make sure you have a calm and peaceful space to refuel yourself.
Your version of Princess Jasmine is… A young woman who is learning how to use her voice for good in an environment that is telling her she should be silent.