Mena Massound on ‘Aladdin’: ‘I’m proud of this film’

Mena Massound on ‘Aladdin’: ‘I’m proud of this film’


Pressure? What pressure? You’d think there’d be some serious concerns when taking on the role of Aladdin in Disney’s new live-action film. But Mena Massoud’s got this. He’s excited about playing the part he’s watched so many times since he was just a kid.

“I grew up with it,” Massoud told ABC News. “I think the first time I watched it was probably back in Egypt when I was a little toddler. I was young and we had it playing all around in the house. I have two older sisters so they watched all of the Disney films. I grew up with it for sure.”

He added: “I think more than the pressure, 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.”

“Aladdin” hits theaters on Friday. The live-action flick, directed by Guy Ritchie, follows the original story with a few new twists and updates. Massoud stars opposite Will Smith, who plays the genie, and Naomi Scott, who plays Jasmine. Massoud talked about why the film is so special to him.

“That’s a big part of why I’m proud of this film,” Massoud said in an appearance on “Popcorn with Peter Travers.” “Disney did a great job of making it a very international cast. We have actors from the Netherlands and Tunisia, and Naomi’s from England. But her mother’s Indian. We just have such a colorful cast in this figuratively and not figuratively. It’s an important film for all ethnicities and all diverse artists of color.”

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Massoud said his first meeting with Will Smith didn’t go quite as expected: “I went up to him and I forgot to introduce myself. I had dance rehearsal and I saw Will for the first time. And I thought, this is my chance. I’m going to go introduce myself. And I went up to him and I forgot to tell him who I was. I just went up to him and I was like, ‘Hi, Will.’ And he was like, ‘hi.’ And that was it. And I walked away. So I went back and told him who I was and he hugged me and told he how excited he was. But I totally forgot to even mention my name.”

“GMA” and ABC News are owned by The Walt Disney Co.

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