(By: Angela McLean)
It is about to be a whole new world for Mena Massoud. After weeks of speculation, Massoud, a Ryerson graduate, has been announced as the casting choice for Aladdin in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of the 1992 classic.
The Egypt-born, Markham-raised and Toronto-based actor has racked up a long list of acting credits including roles on Teen Nick’s Open Heart, CTV’s Saving Hope and Amazon’s about-to-be-released series Jack Ryan. Massoud says that landing this role has left him feeling “honored and grateful.”
— Mena Massoud (@MenaMassoud) July 15, 2017
The announcement was made Saturday (July 15) at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA. The casting for Jasmine was also announced; she will be played by Naomi Scott, well-known for her roles in the Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM) Lemonade Mouth and the 2017 Power Rangers reboot. Massoud and Scott will be joined by Will Smith, who will be playing the Genie as previously announced. They will be led by director Guy Ritchie whose credits include King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
In addition to taking influence from Disney’s original 1992 release, Entertainment Weekly reports that Ritchie and screenwriter John August will be revisiting the Arabic folktales of One Thousand and One Nights.
Massoud is said to have beat Dutch actor Achraf Koutet and American actor George Kosturos for the part. While the Twitter rumour mill had exploded last week with pleas for fellow Canadian Avan Jogia (Victorious) to play the lead role, it has not been confirmed whether he ever auditioned.
About that Ryerson connection: Massoud graduated from the Ryerson School of Performance in 2014 after transferring from the University of Toronto.
— Ryerson Univ. Alumni (@Ryerson_Alumni) July 15, 2017
UM ALADDIN WENT TO MY SCHOOL??? https://t.co/aQ7PrLR7Lm
— jay🤷🏾♀️ (@jaysaysnope) July 16, 2017
— michelle (@kwangmong) July 17, 2017
Filming is set to begin later this summer while a release date has yet to be set.
What do you think of the casting? Are you excited to see a fellow Ryersonian play Aladdin? Sound off in the comments below, or send us a tweet @RUtvNews.
(Header photo via Entertainment Weekly; George Pimental/Getty Images, Everett Collection)