Will Smith previews Genie character, raps 'Aladdin' song 'Friend Like Me'

Aladdin is coming to theatres later this month but Will Smith gave audiences a taste of what they can expect to see in the Disney live-action remake when he performed a rap-inspired version of Friend Like Me.

Smith appeared on The Tonight Show and told Jimmy Fallon that he didn’t want to play the role of Genie when the idea was first presented to him.

WATCH BELOW: ‘Aladdin’ trailer

“I got presented the idea to play the genie in Aladdin and the first thing is ‘Hell no,’” Smith told Fallon.

READ MORE: ‘You look like a prince on the outside’: New trailer shows ‘Aladdin’ and Genie’s friendship

He continued: “Robin Williams smashed that role, you know? When you look at things like that, you always try to find, ‘What would you do differently? What would you add to that?’ So I looked at it and the first thing was, I didn’t feel like I wanted to touch it.”

“But then I spent some time with it and I met with the directors and talked about it,” Smith said of deciding to play the part.

WATCH BELOW: ‘Aladdin’ trailer shows first glimpse of Will Smith’s Genie

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air actor said that he began playing with the movie’s music and when he got to Friend Like Me, he had a revelation.

He sampled the drumbeat from the Honeydrippers’ Impeach the President and everything came together from there.

After explaining his take on the Disney song, Questlove began to play Impeach the President and Smith rapped Friend Like Me.

READ MORE: Will Smith’s Genie in ‘Aladdin’ triggers onslaught of internet mockery

The first look at Smith’s blue Genie in the live-action film made many fans of the Disney classic confused in February.

The official synopsis for Aladdin reads: A thrilling and vibrant live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic, Aladdin is the exciting tale of the charming street rat Aladdin, the courageous and self-determined Princess Jasmine and the Genie who may be the key to their future.

READ MORE: New ‘Aladdin’ teaser takes viewers to Cave of Wonders

Directed by Guy Ritchie, who brings his singular flair for fast-paced, visceral action to the fictitious port city of Agrabah, Aladdin is written by John August and Ritchie, based on Disney’s Aladdin.

WATCH BELOW: ‘Aladdin’ trailer

The film stars Smith as the Genie; Mena Massoud as Aladdin; Naomi Scott as Jasmine; Marwan Kenzari as Jafar; Navid Negahban as the Sultan; Nasim Pedrad as Dalia; Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders; and Numan Acar as Hakim.

Aladdin hits theatres on May 24, 2019.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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