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East Londoner takes on Aladdin’s Genie with fresh spin

MAGICAL: Leroy Osei-Bonsu as Genie

AN EAST Londoner has taken on the role as Genie in CBBC's new magical drama.

Jamillah and Aladdin is a magical new drama, transporting viewers, to an ancient world full of intrigue and mysterious encounters.

Leroy Osei-Bonsu, 27, from Stratford, east London, plays the role of the Genie.

We caught up with him to hear more about his debut role:

How would you describe Jamillah and Aladdin to anyone who hasn’t already heard about it?
An exciting, fun-packed and adventurous series, which all the family can enjoy! It’s about all the difficult situations these two troublesome kids find themselves in, which is why they are always being saved by the amazing Genie of the Lamp.

How would you describe your character in the series?
He is like the big brother a kid would always imagine having in everyday life. He is always there for Jamillah and Aladdin and getting mixed up in their schemes, but when it all gets a bit out of hand, he knows what cards to play to defuse the problem in a “fun-tastic” way.

How similar are you to your on-screen character?
I guess we are quite similar as we both love a bit of adventure, causing a bit of trouble and lending a helping hand. I don’t take life too seriously and I’m always out for a laugh, much like the genie.

How similar or different is this version to other imaginings of Aladdin that you have seen?
Well, besides the name Aladdin and the Genie from the lamp, it’s very different to what I had expected! This series has more of a modern feel to it, as we have Jamillah from the present day who is going back in time to ancient Baghdad. Seeing that amazement from the characters in Baghdad when they are shown something from the future is a real treat. There are lots of encounters with new enemies and friends, which is obviously very different to the well-known Disney version.

What are your favourite memories of being on set?
The banter between the cast and crew. There was always something going on which made me laugh!

It must have been a lot of fun, what was it like to film in South Africa?
Just amazing! All you could see was mountains and beautiful landscapes. It was a great place to just relax after coming off a hectic set.

How did you get into acting?
I’ve always wanted to act since primary school. It first started as a dream to be famous, but I gradually realised there was more to it than that and it became a main factor in my life – fame didn’t necessarily matter anymore.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become an actor?
Be patient and be prepared to fail countless times – but just remember it’s a marathon and do it because you know deep down it’s your passion and you are good at it!

What other character in children’s television and film would you love to play in a live action version?
I would love to play Superman.

What’s next for you in 2016?
Season 2 of Jamillah and Aladdin and the rest shall remain a mystery…

Finally, if you could have three wishes from the genie what would they be?
World peace, the ability to fly and a successful career!

Leroy Osei-Bonsu with Blossom Campbell as Jamillah and Wilson Radjou-Pujalte as Aladdin

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