- Classic Disney animated movies often don’t feature one or both parents of its young protagonists.
- That’s the case with Aladdin in both the animated and live-action remake.
- Animated “Aladdin” codirector Ron Clements told INSIDER in March an early version of the script featured the titular star’s mother.
- Clements said then-Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg asked for the mother to be cut, referring to her as a “zero.”
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
The live-action remake of “Aladdin” is in theatres now. Similar to the animated movie, Aladdin doesn’t have any parents. Early on, he vaguely reveals in the new movie that he lost both of them.
But that wasn’t always the case with the 1992 movie.
“The one exception in our movies I think is ‘Aladdin,'” Ron Clements, who codirected “Aladdin,” told INSIDER in March of Disney movies without parents while discussing the animated movie and the 30th anniversary of “The Little Mermaid.” “He didn’t have a dad, but he did have a mum.”
If you’re a die-hard Disney fan, you may have known Aladdin’s mother was cut from the finished film, but you may not be familiar with the story of how she wound up removed from the movie.
Disney lyricist Howard Ashman initially pitched the idea for the Oscar-winning movie. In addition to “Aladdin,” Ashman wrote the lyrics for Disney classics during the studio’s renaissance era, including “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid”before his death in 1991.
“Howard was very involved with ‘Aladdin’ and wrote the first version of ‘Aladdin’,” said Clements. “In fact, [he] wrote a song that was very personal to [him], that [Aladdin] sang to his mum called ‘Proud of Your Boy.'”
In the song, Aladdin apologizes to his mother, admitting that he wasn’t always the perfect son, but that he’s going to make something of himself so that his mother will be proud of him. In a DVD feature for the film years later, Clements said the song meant a lot to Ashman because of his own relationship with his mother.
“At a certain point when we had sort of developed the story and put it up on story reels and showed it to [then-Disney chairman] Jeffrey Katzenberg for the first time, he wanted us to cut the mum,” said Clements. “He said, ‘The mum’s a zero. 86 the mum.”
Clements said Katzenberg was right to some degree.
“That was a blunt way of putting it,” said Clements of Katzenberg’s criticism, but acknowledged the movie was probably better off without her. “There were problems in terms of the way she worked in the story. The story did work better with Aladdin as just a street kid who didn’t have a father or a mother.”
Though he had a lot of say in the creative direction of Disney’s animated features at the time, Katzenberg didn’t always get his way. A few years earlier, he wanted the now iconic “Part of Your World” song cut from “The Little Mermaid.” Ariel actress Jodie Benson told INSIDER Katzenberg suggested cutting the song after some children were getting restless during a test screening of the film.
While “Part of Your World” did wind up in the final version of “The Little Mermaid,” it wouldn’t be until many years later when “Aladdin” came to Broadway that most people would hear “Proud of Your Boy” for the first time. The song Ashman wrote years ago is a staple of Disney’s Broadway adaptation of the movie and you can hear it here.
- Read more:
- Aladdin and Jasmine are perfect in Disney’s live-action remake, but it’s bogged down by a disappointing villain
- 37 of the biggest differences between the live-action ‘Aladdin’ and the animated movie
- ‘Aladdin’ answers the mystery of what happened to Jasmine’s mother and it only leaves us with more questions
- 12 iconic moments missing from the live-action ‘Aladdin’
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