Canadian actor Mena Massoud just scored himself a magic carpet ride to Agrabah.
The newcomer has landed the starring role in Guy Ritchie’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” Disney announced Saturday, just one week after the production expressed frustration in finding a suitable candidate.
Joining the Egyptian-born, Canada-bred Massoud in the whole new world of Disney musicals is 24-year-old British actress Naomi Scott, who has been cast as Princess Jasmine. Will Smith, as previously announced, will take on the voice of the Genie.
Disney made the announcement at the D23 Expo just days after a Hollywood Reporter report claimed that Ritchie’s film was struggling to cast the lead role.
Tom Hardy being eyed for ‘Aladdin’ despite promise of diversity
Global casting calls were launched in May with production set to begin in July, but filming was pushed back to August after none of the nearly 2,000 people who auditioned were deemed the perfect fit.
“Lion” actor Dev Patel and “Star Wars” star Riz Ahmed were both rumored to be in contention for the role in Ritchie’s reimagining of the 1992 Disney animated classic.
Massoud is a largely unknown actor with just 17 credits to his name on IMDB, including several episodes of the Canadian TV show “Open Heart.” He’ll next appear in the Amazon series “Jack Ryan” alongside John Krasinski.
Scott, meanwhile, made her blockbuster debut earlier this year as the Pink Ranger in March’s “Power Rangers.” She previously appeared in a 2011 Disney Channel movie called “Lemonade Mouth,” and sang on the film’s soundtrack.
Live-action ‘Aladdin’ reportedly having trouble finding stars
With two relative newcomers set to play the film’s leading roles, the studio is reportedly interested in snagging a “known quantity” for the role of the villain Jafar.
Send a Letter to the Editor