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Mena Massoud Says He's Struggling to Land Auditions Since Starring in 'Aladdin'

Gettyimages | Leon Bennett
By Laura Kelly

Disney fans were intrigued when it was announced that there would be a live-action remake of the beloved animated classic 'Aladdin.' Although the original is a treasure to Disney fans, many were willing to give the live-action movie a try. And when Mena Massoud, an Egyptian-Canadian actor, was cast to play the lead role, fans were optimistic and pleased that the Middle Eastern roles were not going to be white-washed. You would think that a major role like Aladdin would be the making of anyone's career, but according to Massoud, this has not necessarily been the case.

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Massoud Says He Hasn't Been Able to Land One Audition

Disney | USA Today

Starring in major Disney movie is no small acting credit on an actor's resume, particularly one that has made of $1 billion. You would think that directors would be begging these types of actors to audition for them.

“I want people to know that it’s not always dandelions and roses when you’re doing something like Aladdin. ‘He must have made millions. He must be getting all these offers.’ It’s none of those things. I haven’t had a single audition since Aladdin came out," said Massoud in a recent interview.

"You're A Wild Card"

Gettyimages | Pascal Le Segretain

It's hard to be a minority anywhere, but being a minority in Hollywood has its own special struggles. Unfortunately, it's no secret just how terrible a problem Hollywood has with placing minorities in good roles, despite there being plenty of talented people of color.

“There’s always a wild card or two when you’re casting,” Massoud said. “I’m usually the wild card. In a room of Caucasian guys, a director might be like, ‘OK, let’s see, like, two guys who aren’t. And maybe they’ll be the wild card choice.”

Will Smith Is Sympathetic

Gettyimages | Paul Archuleta

If anyone can understand the struggles of being a minority in Hollywood, Will Smith would be one of them. Having worked with Massoud on the set of 'Aladdin,' Smith came out to show his support for the young actor and give encouragement.

“He is a spectacular actor, and he has nothing to worry about,” Smith said.

“The thing about this business, that is not unlike life, it’s hard by design,” he added. “That difficulty is overcome by patience, commitment, dedication, endurance — so if you have a dream, you desperately have to be willing to work on it every single hour of the day with your deepest love and focus. You can not get around having a hard time."

Massoud Will Perservere

Wikimedia |

But Massoud isn't going away any time soon. He is currently slated to star in the new Hulu series, 'Reprisal,' a gig he booked prior to starring in 'Aladdin.' There's a lot of hype and interest in this upcoming series, so it may prove to be a fruitful experience for Massoud, particularly if the show becomes a big hit.

And for now, maybe Hollywood can work harder in addressing their diversity problem and making a more hospitable space for talented actors of color.

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