Some shoes are too big to step into. That’s how Will Smith felt about the offer to take on the iconic role of the Genie in the upcoming live action reboot of Aladdin. But then Tonight Show house band leader drummer Questlove started playing him the beat from The Honey Drippers’ 1973 single “Impeach the President” and the former Fresh Prince found his groove.
“I got presented to play the Genie in Aladdin and the first thing is ‘hell no,’ you know?” he told Fallon on Monday night (May 6) about his initial reaction to appearing in the Guy Ritchie-directed film due out on May 24 and co-starring Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Mena Massoud as Aladdin.
“Robin Williams smashed that role… when you look at things like that you always try to find, like, what would you do differently?” he said. “What would you add to that?” But he pondered it, met with Ritchie and then started messing around with the music and it was Quest’s Honey Drippers beat that got the Oscar-nominated rapper’s juices going. Smith then busted out a few Genie verses, “Ali Baba he had them forty thieves/ Sceherazade he had a thousand tales/ But Master you’re in luck because up your sleeve you got a brand of magic never fails,” as Fallon clapped along.
And, because it’s Fallon, he also got roped into playing a game of Magic Carpet Race, in which the pair zoomed around the studio on their carpet scooters through a series of obstacles. Smith also gave Jimmy a detailed play-by-play of his panic-inducing 50th birthday bungee jump adventure.
See Smith’s Genie rap and magic carpet race below.