Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Robin Williams to Voice The Genie in Disney 100th Anniversary Short

Robin Williams to Voice The Genie in Disney 100th Anniversary Short

Robin Williams is back, albeit through some vocal magic, as The Genie from Aladdin in a new short from Disney. Williams, who offered up a zany, funny take as The Genie, was able to be a part of this Disney 100th Anniversary short. How? Through the wizardry of recorded lines that didn’t make it into the 1992 movie.

How it all came about is a story unto itself. These lines that didn’t make it into Aladdin were pulled from the archives. Disney people then went to the Estate of Robin Williams and asked if they could use them. Sadly, Williams died in 2014 but the movie company managed to hang on to these dialogue bits.

“We tried to take them on the journey with us to say, ‘We’ve got this very special short that we’re doing. Robin as The Genie means so much to so many people and we would really love to involve him,’” producer Bradford Simonsen told Variety in an interview.

Disney Director Pulls Outtakes Of Williams’ Work

“So, [director] Dan [Abraham] listened to the outtakes from the original recording and he found those little bites that we could use,” said Simonsen. “We went back to the estate and said, ‘This is what we hope to do.’ Eric [Goldberg], who originally animated the genie is on the show, and he’s going to be part of it.’ And it was wonderful to see that happen.”

In the short titled Once Upon A Studio, we will see 543 Disney characters actually come to life. Some of those are going to be well-recognized like Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, and Mickey Mouse. A trailer is now out for the movie. In it, we see Mickey Mouse and Minnie have a moment.

After the studio empties, different characters come to life. We see Mickey ask, “Is that it, are they all gone?” Then we see a number of characters start to come alive and limb out of the picture frames, where they were frozen in time. Once Upon A Studio debuted on ABC on Oct. 15. It’s been on Disney+ since Oct. 16.

Simonson wanted each character in the short to feel like they’d just stepped out of their own short film, “It needed to feel that so the audience response would be visceral,” he said. “We used our animation research library where we pulled out model sheets for the animators to work from. We had Eric Goldberg who has the studio history, and we did tests to make sure it was all working together in the scenes.”

Williams’ career spanned movies, television, and stand-up comedy shows in clubs.