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Aladdin Animator Eric Goldberg Sat In On Robin Williams' Recordings To Perfect Genie's Mannerisms

By the early 1990s, the Disney Renaissance was well underway thanks to the success of such titles as "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast," among others. To keep the momentum going, the media giant prepared for the release of "Aladdin" in 1992: the tale of the titular thief with a heart of gold — as voiced by Scott Weinger — who falls in love with the princess of Agrabah, Jasmine (Linda Larkin). Sinister forces seek to interrupt their unlikely love story, but thankfully for them, they have some immensely powerful backup.

Accompanying Aladdin on his rags-to-riches journey is the now-iconic Genie, who Aladdin frees from his imprisonment inside of a lamp. While "Aladdin" remains a well-remembered piece of Disney animation for multiple reasons, most would agree that much of its staying power is tied to the late Robin Williams' performance as the Genie. His electrified line delivery and spot-on comedic timing, coupled with a colorful, dynamic animation style, have made the character a beloved cinematic figure. As one could imagine, bringing these elements together took a bit of coordination.

To perfect the Genie's mannerisms, Disney animator Eric Goldberg would sit in during Robin Williams' recording sessions. Here's what Goldberg had to say about this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Goldberg and Williams quickly built a strong creative rapport

Eric Goldberg spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his work on "Aladdin" and what went into making the Genie's animation match the liveliness of Robin Williams' recordings. "One thing that I really felt very strongly, and I hope Robin felt it too — I think he did — we had a wavelength thing going, where he could do certain things, and he knew that I would pick up on them," he explained, noting that Williams' own shorthand for certain ideas and phrases greatly influenced how he animated the character. If he wanted to keep the Genie as close to the audio as possible, he had to go over the top, and so he did.

It goes without saying that Goldberg and Williams' collaborative efforts created movie magic, hence why the Genie from 1992's "Aladdin" remains so adored by fans. Although, when Disney elected to reboot "Aladdin" in live-action in 2019, it meant that finding a new Genie would be a tall order. Will Smith stepped up to the challenge, and instead of trying to imitate what Williams accomplished decades ago, he took the character in a new direction. He told Entertainment Weekly, "I said to myself, 'What if I just infuse the character with a timeless version of myself?' And then that opened up for me...Hip-hop, it opened up fashion. Because the Genie is timeless."

Will Smith did a great job as the 2019 version of the Genie, but when it's all said and done, there's no denying that Robin Williams will stand tall as the best take on the character. His and Eric Goldberg's hard work will forever shine through.