Mena Massoud

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Mena Massoud
Run This Town cast - Mena Massoud (33463322988).jpg
Massoud in 2019
Born (1991-09-17) September 17, 1991 (age 28)
Cairo, Egypt
CitizenshipCanadian, Egyptian[1]
OccupationActor
Years active2011–present
Home townMarkham, Ontario, Canada[2]

Mena Massoud (Arabic: مينا مسعود‎; born September 17, 1991[2]) is a Canadian actor. He is best known for starring as Aladdin in the 2019 live-action adaptation of the musical fantasy film of the same name.

Early life[edit]

Massoud was born in Cairo, Egypt to Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christian parents. He has two older sisters.[3] His family immigrated to Canada when he was three years old.[4] About his family's immigration to Canada Massoud stated, "I was born there. We immigrated when I was 3 1/2 years old, to Toronto. But I'm still very, very close to my culture and - back home in Egypt. We're - we're Coptic Christian. And my parents just felt like things were getting a little too dangerous when I was growing up. And they wanted to create a better life for their family. So they decided to immigrate."[5] He grew up in Markham, Ontario,[2] where he attended St. Brother André Catholic High School.[5][6] Massoud is a huge admirer of Egyptian comedy movies, in an interview with the BBC, he stated how his Egyptian heritage has inspired him as a comedian, stating: "I grew up watching Egyptian comedy films by the great Egyptian comedians such as Ismail Yassin and Adel Imam. The way they entertain the audience with not only their words but with their body language and facial expressions is totally different from that of the actors here. I played a lot of comedy roles in American productions. My role in Aladdin is also a comedy role. I believe I play comedy roles with a different taste that I learned from our own Egyptian cinema and this makes it appealing in a different way".[7]

Career[edit]

Massoud launched his career as a professional actor in 2011, when he appeared briefly in single episodes of the television series Nikita and Combat Hospital.[8] He also starred as Jared Malik in the 2015 series Open Heart, and Tarek Kassar in the Amazon Prime series Jack Ryan.[9]

In 2017, it was announced that Massoud had been cast in the role of Aladdin in Disney's 2019 live-action adaptation of Aladdin.[2] While talking about playing the role, he said: "I was excited to finally have an opportunity to play a character that wasn't a terrorist and didn't have a negative connotation on them. This has a very positive connotation. It's an inspiring film, an inspiring role. And I was just excited to finally have a shot at something like that."[3] Also stating that it is an important movie for representation of People of Colour in Hollywood.[10][11] Massoud was joking along with Guy Ritchie[citation needed] that Aladdin is going to hit the one billion dollar mark in the box office. Ironically, the movie has surged past USD one billion in worldwide collections.[12] In December, 2019; Massoud announced that he hadn't had a 'single audition' since the Disney film came out.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Massoud is vegan and is the founder of the plant-based food travel show Evolving Vegan.[14] In September 2019, Massoud was officially announced as Egypt's ambassador for "Talk Egyptian” (Etkalem Masry) initiative launched by the Egyptian ministry in an effort to preserve Egyptian identity.[15]

Massoud launched a charitable foundation with the aim to support talented artists from underrepresented groups and help them start in his native Canada before setting up in Los Angeles.[when?] Massoud struggled in his early career in Toronto before his role in Aladdin. He mentions that casting for lead roles is done out of Los Angeles and the foundation aims to change that[16] by helping them secure mentors, aid for training and pay for headshots to get them in front of casting directors.

Filmography[edit]

Film roles
Year Title Role
2015 Let's Rap John
2017 Ordinary Days Ollie Santos
2019 Run This Town Kamal
2019 Aladdin Aladdin
2019 Strange but True Chaz
2020 Lamya's Poem Rumi (voice)
Television roles
Year Title Role Notes
2011 Nikita Al Qaeda No. 2 1 episode
2011 Poser Bretten Thomason Recurring role, 6 episodes
2011 Combat Hospital Salman Zawab 1 episode
2011 The 99 Hafiz the Preserver / Dave / Saad Main voice role
2012 Cut to the Chase Jason Recurring role, 7 episodes
2012 King Malik Atassi 1 episode
2015 Open Heart Jared Malik Main role
2017 Saving Hope Justin Srinivasan 1 episode
2018 Jack Ryan Tarek Kassar Recurring role (season 1)
2019 Reprisal Ethan Hart Main role
Video game roles
Year Title Role Notes
2016 Watch Dogs 2 Various voices Voice role

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Category Nominated work Result
2019 Teen Choice Awards[17] Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie Actor Aladdin Nominated
GQ Men of the Year Awards[18] Breakthrough Talent Himself Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ Omar, Eslam (May 29, 2019). "Aladdin's Egyptian actor Mena Massoud under fire over interview with Israeli outlet". Ahram Online. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "7 Things You Need to Know About Aladdin's Mena Massoud". E!. July 15, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Mena Massoud on the making of 'Aladdin', starring opposite Will Smith", ABC News, May 24, 2019, retrieved June 25, 2019
  4. ^ "Aladdin Breakout Star Mena Massoud: 'People Who Look Like Me Struggle to Get Roles'". People. May 24, 2019. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Mena Massoud On Being 'Aladdin'", NPR, May 26, 2019, retrieved July 1, 2019
  6. ^ "'I followed my dream': Canadian Aladdin star Mena Massoud's magic carpet ride to stardom", CBC News, May 24, 2019, retrieved June 25, 2019
  7. ^ A present-day Aladdin: Mena Massoud, a new Egyptian star in international cinema
  8. ^ "Who is Mena Massoud? Meet Disney's new Aladdin". Entertainment Weekly. July 15, 2017. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  9. ^ "Mena Massoud Cast as Aladdin in Disney's Live-Action Reboot". E!. July 15, 2017. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  10. ^ Mena Massoud: It's harder being a leading man of colour
  11. ^ 'Aladdin' is Important for Representation of People of Colour in Hollywood, Says Mena Massoud
  12. ^ "Aladdin Earns 1 Billion Dollars Worldwide, Mena Massoud Expresses Gratitude in Video". News18. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  13. ^ "Aladdin' star Mena Massoud says he hasn't had a 'single audition' since the Disney film came out: 'Can you just give me a chance?'". business insider.
  14. ^ "Disney's Vegan 'Aladdin' Actor Mena Massoud Launches Plant-Based Food Travel Show 'Evolving Vegan'", LIVEKINDLY, October 8, 2018, retrieved June 25, 2019
  15. ^ "Aladdin's Mena Massoud "Ambassador for Etkalem Masry": Minister of immigration". english.ahram.org.eg/. September 19, 2019. Retrieved December 6, 2019. Makram announced that the Disney actor will act as an ambassador for the recent "Talk Egyptian” (Etkalem Masry) initiative launched by the ministry in an effort to preserve Egyptian identity.
  16. ^ "'Aladdin' Star Mena Massoud Talks Closing Hollywood Diversity Gap With Casting Foundation". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  17. ^ Moreau, Jordan (June 19, 2019). "'Avengers: Endgame,' 'Riverdale,' 'Aladdin' Top 2019 Teen Choice Award Nominations". Variety. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  18. ^ "Mena Massoud is GQ's Breakthrough Talent". GQ. October 6, 2019. Retrieved October 8, 2019.

External links[edit]