Aladdin Star Mena Massoud Says He Hasn't Had a Single Audition Since Movie Made $1 Billion
“I want people to know that it’s not always dandelions and roses when you’re doing something like Aladdin," Mena Massoud says
In an interview with The Daily Beast published on Tuesday, the actor, 28, said he has had a total of zero auditions since playing the titular role in the live-action Disney remake, which was released in May.
“I’m kind of tired of staying quiet about it,” he 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.”
He later added: “The big truth is I haven’t really seen a big anything from [Aladdin].”
Massoud said that when he tells others about the lack of casting interest after his major Hollywood breakout, they don’t believe him.
“It’s wild to a lot of people,” he said. “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? … Can you just give me a chance?”
An Egyptian immigrant to Canada, Massoud was once told by his parents not to pursue acting as a career, so he originally attended the University of Toronto to study neuroscience. However, he quickly transferred to Ryerson University where he entered the theater program.
The actor said his Middle Eastern background often makes him the “wild card” in a casting call with mostly white candidates — and it often leads to roles limited to characters like terrorists, which he has no interest in portraying in his work moving forward.
“There’s always a wild card or two when you’re casting,” he said. “… In a room of Caucasian guys, a director might be like, ‘Okay, let’s see, like, two guys who aren’t.’ And maybe they’ll be the wild card choice.”
Massoud is now set to appear opposite Abigail Breslin in Hulu’s new revenge series Reprisal — a role he earned prior to Aladdin‘s release when the casting directors didn’t know who he was yet.
“I feel like I’m going to be overlooked and underestimated for a long time because I am a young actor,” he said. “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.”
Knowing now that one successful project doesn’t always lead to another, Massoud admitted he now has to manage his expectations more.
“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 said. “… As for whether people are gonna discover me from it or what it’s going to do, I literally have no clue.”
He added: “I can’t tell you I know how things are going to work out anymore.”
Reprisal is available to stream on Hulu on Friday, Dec. 6.