Exclusive: Dante Basco, who played Rufio in the 1991 film Hook, says his co-star Robin Williams acted just like Aladdin’s Genie in real life.
Hook star Dante Basco says Robin Williams was just like Aladdin’s Genie in real life. Long before Cruella, Maleficent, or Mulan, Hook was one of Disney’s first attempts at revitalizing one of their animated classics with a live-action reboot. Released in 1991, Hook successfully breathed new life into the 1953 animated film, Peter Pan. Though the swashbuckling adventure film received mixed reviews from critics at the time and director Steven Spielberg was even disappointed with the final product, Hook has garnered a significant cult following in the years since its release.
Spielberg’s film is actually a sequel to J.M. Barrie’s classic novel, Peter and Wendy, as it follows an adult workaholic Peter Pan who has forgotten all about his childhood. Another reason Hook’s popularity has persisted for so long is its impressive ensemble cast. Robin Williams stars as Peter Pan, Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook, Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell, Bob Hoskins as Mr. Smee, and Maggie Smith as Granny Wendy. Dante Basco stars as one of the protagonists named Rufio whose origin story was actually explored in the 2017 short film, Bangarang.
Screen Rant recently caught up with Dante Basco for an interview and had the chance to address one of the questions on everyone’s minds: What was it like working with Robin Williams? Basco had an apt comparison, saying that Williams was just like Aladdin’s Genie in real life, the character he famously voiced in the 1992 animated film. Read how Basco described working with Williams below:
Robin comes up all the time and rightfully so because he's just a magical person. The short answer's always like, "Hey, man, Robin's the Genie." He played the genie in Aladdin and he is the genie when you're around Robin Williams. He's so smart and so fast and so funny and so kind, and magic can happen and often does. So, I mean, in a nutshell, that's Robin Williams.
Williams’ performance as Genie was arguably the most memorable of his entire career, which is saying a lot considering he was one of the most beloved comedic actors of all time for his roles in Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, and Patch Adams while taking more dramatic turns in Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, and Good Will Hunting. Since his tragic passing in 2014, these performances have only become more cherished.
Because fans are so protective of the role, Will Smith being cast as Genie in the 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin was met with a bit of backlash. While Smith delivered a passable performance, fans were rightfully upset that anyone other than Williams was taking on the iconic role, which was one of the rare perfect castings. Hook star Dante Basco’s anecdote is just the latest evidence to support that fact. Hopefully, his former castmates continue to keep his legacy alive by sharing stories of working with him on set.