FILE - Mena Massoud
CAIRO – 29 July 2019: Egyptian-Canadian star Mena Massoud is attending the third edition of El-Gouna International Film Festival, taking place between September 19 and 27 in El-Gouna.
Massoud grabbed the world's attention after being chosen by director Guy Ritchie to play the title role in "Aladdin" which achieved booming success. The film’s worldwide box office revenues exceeded $724 million, which is more than three times its $183 million budget.
Massoud along with Will Smith and Naomi Scott promoted "Aladdin" which screened in Jordan on May 24. Massoud, Smith and Scott also attended the premiere of the live-action remake of the 1992 classic "Aladdin" in London on May 9.
Born in Egypt to Egyptian parents, and raised in Canada, Massoud worked hard to reach this opportunity. He prepared for his role by getting more into fitness. This is clear in the photos he added to his Instagram account, showing the tough training he went through at the gym.
“I grew up in a culturally different household; my parents saw certain things differently than other people. I went to schools that had a significantly large Caucasian population and I feel very fortunate because I was able to compare that perspective with my family’s. It allowed me to create a wider world view on things. Also, at this point in my career being a visible minority in this industry still affects me,’’ recounted Massoud in his interview with Defective Geeks.
Massoud participated in Amazon's "Jack Ryan" series, playing the role of John Krasinski. He participated as well in some successful shows like "Nikita", "Open Heart", and "Saving Hope".
"I can’t compete for roles that require me to be Caucasian or African American, even if those characters really connect with me and intrigue me," he continued.
"The competition may be less, some people would say, but the amount of work is less as well.
However, I think the industry is growing more and more and starting to support actors of all cultural backgrounds," declared Massoud in his interview with Defective Geeks.
Massoud admitted that he was inspired by the great actor Robin Williams. “He was an incredibly well-rounded actor; I grew up on his role in 'Mrs. Doubtfire.'"
Massoud talked about Williams in an interview with The Hudsucker, where he explained that his admiration to Williams pushed him to shift from The University of Toronto to an arts program at Ryerson University.
Massoud has starred in over eight movies so far: "What Happens Next", "Americanistan", "Let’s Rap", "Ordinary Days", "Masters in Crime", "Final Exam", "Aladdin" and "Strange But True".
Massoud previously posted a video on his official Facebook page in which he was speaking Arabic addressing his Arabic viewers, asking them to watch the movie. He expressed in the video how proud he is of being part of a Disney project.
The video revealed clearly how Massoud is proud of his Egyptian origins as he ended the video by saying "Long live Egypt".
Aladdin source was anonymous until French writer Antoine Galland included it into his 18th-century translation of "1001 Nights", announcing that he heard the tale from a Syrian storyteller. The original story of Aladdin was set in China, and was transformed into a Middle Eastern story by storytellers.
"Aladdin" includes new songs as well as re-recordings of the original songs written by Alan Menken and lyricists Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.