MediaPunch / BACKGRID

Mena Massoud is mostly unknown in Western countries, but he’s about to leave his mark alongside Will Smith and Guy Richie by starring in Disney‘s live-action adaptation of Aladdin.

Mena was spotted arriving at Good Morning America ready to start whirlwind press junkets in anticipation of the theater release of the Disney film.

The up-and-coming star wore a banana leaf printed jacket, a tan printed button-up shirt, cropped black trousers, two-tone socks, and black dress shoes.  He was spotted carrying a Fiji water and his phone on the way to GMA.

Massoud joined his co-star Naomi Scott, who plays Princess Jasmine on the action-packed movie, on the set of Good Morning America for the interview.  The two relatively unknown stars were hand-picked by director Guy Ritchie who stayed away from casting well-known actors for the blockbuster.

He shared a little insight into what to expect in the upcoming film and said ‘It’s big, it’s a spectacle. There are a lot of things – singing, dancing, stumpwork’, which he says included about 300 professional dancers.

The Egyptian actor recently told Esquire Middle East — “honestly, it is a huge opportunity for me personally but, more importantly, it stands for something that is far greater than the art that is being represented on screen, it stands for ethnic diversity. Do you know how rare it is to go to a cinema and see Middle Easterners represented in huge Hollywood blockbusters?”.

The young star shared his feeling about being chosen for the film instead of ‘another Jake Gyllenhaal‘ who was famously booked for Prince of Persia instead of somebody of Middle Eastern descent.  This can sometimes be the norm for Hollywood films; a white actor cast for an ethnic role.

The barrier-breaker said, “This one has a special place in my heart.  I was born in North Africa but everyone always referred to it as the Middle East – it confused me as a kid.  But now I know more than ever that we’re all in this together.  The goal is equality. Period. Here’s to the pursuit of EQUALITY!”.


His co-star Will Smith talked about his role of Genie in the film and expressed excitement for the release of the film which is set to hit theaters nationwide on May 24.

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