Aladdin Made $1 Billion, but Mena Massoud Still Can't Get a Role
"Can I just get in the room? Can you just give me a chance?"
Disney magic didn't help Mena Massoud. After playing Aladdin in this year's live-action remake of the animated classic, Massoud says that his career isn't getting the sort of bump that he and others expected. In a new interview with The Daily Beast, he explains that he's opening up about the truth that comes with being in a blockbuster and not seeing it pan out.
"I'm kind of tired of staying quiet about it. 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 said. "The big truth is I haven't really seen a big anything from [Aladdin]."
People adds that Aladdin made more than $1 billion at the box office worldwide and was actually Will Smith's most successful project to date. Despite all that, Massoud says that he hasn't gotten any auditions since the film's release.
"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?"
He noted that his Middle Eastern background is still a hurdle when it comes to the roles that he does get. He told The Daily Beast that the only roles he was offered involved portraying a terrorist, something that he has no intention of doing. When he went on auditions, he noted, he was always a "wild card."
"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 will appear in Hulu's Reprisal, which also stars Abigail Breslin. He got the role pre-Aladdin, he says, before producers associated him with a Disney street rat.
"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."