Canadian actor Mena Massoud cast as Aladdin in Disney live-action remake


Canadian actor Mena Massoud cast as Aladdin in Disney live-action remake
  1. Canadian actor Mena Massoud cast as Aladdin in Disney live-action remake
    cbc.ca
    The star of Disney's new live-action remake of Aladdin is a young Egyptian-Canadian actor from the Toronto area who is a "natural leading man," says his former university…
    Arts&Culture

The star of Disney's new live-action remake of Aladdin is a young Egyptian-Canadian actor from the Toronto area who is a "natural leading man," says his former university professor.

Mena Massoud was born in Egypt but grew up in Markham, Ont., and graduated from Ryerson University's performance acting program in 2014, after transferring from the University of Toronto.

Cynthia Ashperger is the director of the Ryerson program and taught Massoud in his third year at university. She told CBC Toronto that Massoud has "a gentle quality but also a lot of fire."

"It couldn't have happened to a better guy," she said. "He's got a great work ethic, great humility. He isn't just a two-dimensional pretty boy. He really has the depth and substance as well as the good looks."

 

Massoud's previous roles include starring in the TV drama Open Heart and the supernatural medical drama Saving Hope. He is also set to star in the TV version of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, alongside John Krasinski.

Ashperger, who reached out to Massoud and congratulated him on getting the role, said his Egyptian background will be important for the role of Aladdin.

"I think it allows you to see things from a different cultural perspective when you're brought up in a household in a multi-cultural society."

Mena Massoud

Massoud has been in a few television series and shorts, including Open Heart and Saving Hope. (Mena Massoud/Facebook)

It's something Massoud brought up in a 2015 interview with a Markham newspaper.

"A lot of the Egyptian community is made up of doctors, pharmacists and engineers. All throughout high school I took sciences, but eventually I chose to pursue what I truly want to do," he said. "I love my parents and we have a terrific relationship. They have been very supportive of my career choice."

Troubled search for Aladdin

Casting for Aladdin was announced over the weekend at Disney's annual D23 fan convention in southern California. Massoud joins director Guy Ritchie, U.K. actress Naomi Scott (cast as Jasmine) and blockbuster star Will Smith, who will play the Genie.

But just last week, there were reports that Disney was struggling to cast the lead roles of Aladdin and Jasmine. The…

  1. George R.R. Martin teases new books from Westeros in 2018

    Cbc.ca - Arts&Culture
    07.24 / 20:26 www.cbc.ca
    George R.R. Martin says the next Song of Ice and Fire book has a real chance of coming out in 2018. But don't count on it…
  2. Justin Bieber cancels remaining dates on Purpose world tour

    Cbc.ca - Arts&Culture
    07.24 / 20:06 www.cbc.ca
    Canadian pop star Justin Bieber has scrapped the remainder of his Purpose world tour, including two dates in…
  3. Linkin Park returns to charts following singer's death

    Cbc.ca - Arts&Culture
    07.24 / 14:17 www.cbc.ca
    Linkin Park has returned to the charts after lead singer Chester Bennington's death last…
  4. Review: I Do! I Do!

    Thecoast.ca - Arts&Culture
    07.24 / 14:07 www.thecoast.ca
    This musical about marriage has passed its expiry date. I…
  5. Something was fishy about the Phelps vs. shark showdown

    Cbc.ca - Arts&Culture
    07.24 / 13:13 www.cbc.ca
    Michael Phelps's long-awaited showdown with a great white shark turned out to be different than what many viewers…
  6. Broken Social Scene returns, unbowed in its musical mission

    Macleans.ca - Arts
    07.24 / 12:18 www.macleans.ca
    Canadian indie rock's supergroup returns to action to show unity among their heady ranks—at a time when unity can feel scarce The post Broken Social Scene returns, unbowed in its musical mission appeared first on M…