Reviving Robin Williams’ Genie: Disney’s Journey in Once Upon a Studio

Reviving Robin Williams’ Genie: Disney’s Journey in Once Upon a Studio

In Disney’s new short film, “Once Upon a Studio,” the voice of the late Robin Williams returns to bring the Genie back to life. In a touching moment around the three-minute mark, Josh Gad’s Olaf from Frozen is seen sketching the blue Genie while humming “Friend Like Me,” Williams’ classic tune from 1992’s Aladdin. The Genie then magically springs to life in hand-drawn animated form, creating a memorable scene.

Eric Goldberg, who originally animated the Genie for Aladdin, shared that Josh Gad was inspired by the Genie and was thrilled to share a scene with Robin Williams in the film. On the animation side, Hyrum Osmond, who animated Olaf for Frozen, returned to work on Olaf while Goldberg worked on the Genie.

The audio used for Williams’ dialogue in the film came from archived outtakes recorded years ago for Aladdin. The filmmakers received approval from the Robin Williams estate to use the original dialogue, which was a significant part of honoring the character and the actor’s legacy.

Goldberg, the original animator of the Genie, reminisced about his early days at Disney, where he worked on Aladdin and drew inspiration from Williams’ recordings. Over the years, Goldberg has revisited the Genie for various special occasions, and he expressed joy in bringing the character to life once more in “Once Upon a Studio.”

The film’s touching scene is a heartfelt tribute to both Robin Williams and the beloved Genie character, showcasing the care and attention that went into preserving their legacy.

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