Contrary to popular belief, starring in a Disney musical blockbuster like “Aladdin” doesn’t mean Hollywood will accept you with open arms. Just ask Toronto actor Mena Massoud, who revealed that he didn’t get a single audition offer after the movie’s release.
The Egyptian-Canadian told the Daily Beast that he received zero audition offers after “Aladdin” came out. He also let slip that although the movie made over $1 billion worldwide, that success hasn’t given him a multi-millionaire status.
“I want people to know that it’s not always dandelions and roses when you’re doing something like Aladdin,” Massoud said. ”‘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.”
Massoud is currently on a promotional tour for the new drama series “Reprisal,” premiering Friday on Hulu. The 28-year-old also stars opposite Ben Platt in the film “Run This Town,” which debuted at South by Southwest in March.
Both of those roles, Massoud said, were secured well before “Aladdin” was released.
Massoud has previously spoken openly about the challenges actors of colour face getting major roles. He told HuffPost Canada that when he was starting out, he would get passed over because he didn’t look like a “Michael or a Johnson.”
“I think there’s still a lot of work to be done. There’s still Middle Easterners and Latinos and Asians and tons of other groups being under-represented, so we need to level the playing field as much as we can,” the 28-year-old said.
In spite of the boffo box office of “Aladdin,” he continues to feel like a “wild card” in the casting room, and suggests that has much to do with white actors’ long-held monopoly on starring roles in mainstream Hollywood.
Watch the video above to hear Mena’s challenges getting onscreen and what his next project is.
With files from Curtis M. Wong