Despite making $1 billion, this year’s live-action remake Aladdin hasn’t done anything to advance lead actor Mena Massoud’s career, as some would expect.
The 28-year-old Egyptian-Canadian, who beat 2,000 other hopefuls to land the leading role, said in an interview with the Daily Beast that he hasn’t had a single offer or audition since the film came out.
“I’m kind of tired of staying quiet about it,” Massoud said. “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.”
“It’s wild to a lot of people,” he says. “People have these ideas in their head. It’s like, I'm sitting here being like, okay, Aladdin just hit $1 billion. Can I at least get an audition? Like I’m not expecting you to be like, here’s Batman. But can I just get in the room? Like, can you just give me a chance? So it’s not always what you think.”
Massoud, who has made it a goal to avoid typecasting and roles such as stereotypical terrorists or which paint people of colour in a negative light, will be appearing in TV thriller Reprisal this week alongside Abigail Spencer, a role he landed before Aladdin came out.
“I feel like I'm going to be overlooked and underestimated for a long time because I am a young actor,” Massoud says. “I'm an up and comer in the sense that I've been doing this for 10 years, but to a lot of people, Aladdin's the first thing they’ve seen me in. So I think I'm going to be viewed that way for a long time. I'm going to have to work at chipping away at that.”
Though he’s spent the year working hard on Reprisal while Aladdin has been earning him attention and accolades, he’s got his feet firmly on the ground.
“I think since Aladdin my expectations for things releasing and what they’re going to do in my career, I’ve had to really pull them back,” he says. “Because, you know, I got the same question about Aladdin and it was like, ‘Oh, you know, Aladdin’s coming out. How do you feel about what that’s going to do to your career?’ The big truth is I haven’t really seen a big anything from it.”
“As for whether people are gonna discover me from it or what it’s going to do, I literally have no clue,” he says. “I can’t tell you I know how things are going to work out anymore.”