Aladdin actor Mena Massoud has revealed he hasn’t had a single audition since the Disney remake came out, and has suggested his Middle Eastern heritage is partly the reason.
Speaking to The Daily Beast, the Egyptian/Canadian actor shared that he believes his background makes him a “wild card”.
“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?”
“There’s always a wild card or two when you’re casting... 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,” he continued.
Case in point his next project, Reprisal, which will begin streaming on Hulu later this month.
The show’s creator, Josh Corbin, didn’t know who Mena was or that he had been cast as the lead in the remake when he auditioned for the role, and the 28-year-old acknowledges that carving out a career away from the Aladdin spotlight may take some time.
“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,” he added.