'I’m kind of tired of staying quiet about it,' the 'Aladdin' and 'Reprisal' actor says in a new interview.
For Mena Massoud, starring as the lead of a movie that earned a billion dollars hasn't led to instant Hollywood success.
“I'm kind of tired of staying quiet about it,” the Aladdin actor says in a new Daily Beast interview, published Tuesday. “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.”
Massoud famously beat out 2,000 other actors to land the titular character in the Disney live-action remake, which has grossed $1.05 billion at the box office. He is currently appearing in Hulu's Reprisal, which premieres Dec. 6, and is set for a voice role in the upcoming animated feature Lamya's Poem.
“It's wild to a lot of people,” he added in the story. “People have these ideas in their head. It's like, I'm sitting here being like, OK, 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? Like, can you just give me a chance? So it's not always what you think.”
The Egyptian-born Canadian actor has been vocal about his previous struggles to avoid playing terrorist characters as a Middle Eastern actor in Hollywood and his early challenges as an actor in Canada. "Even though I'm very fortunate and grateful to have played Aladdin, there were still four, five casting directors who never gave me a shot in Toronto. They didn't give me the time of day. I never got to audition for them," he told The Hollywood Reporter while launching his Ethnically Diverse Artists Foundation, which looks to support underrepresented artists.
During the casting process for Reprisal, which occurred after Massoud finished production on Aladdin, he says series creator Josh Corbin had "no fucking idea who I was." He added, "I feel like I'm going to be overlooked and underestimated for a long time because I am a young actor. 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.”
Still, Massoud is getting some recognition as a young actor: In October, he received the SCAD Savannah Film Festival's Breakout Award with Booksmart's Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, When They See Us' Jharrel Jerome and Mickey and the Bear's Camila Morrone.
However, “I think since Aladdin my expectations for things...
While we’re all sitting around daydreaming about an alternate reality in which the coronavirus doesn’t exist, it may be interesting to mix it up for a second and try to envision a world in which Samuel “Screech” Powers – the scrawny, Lisa Turtle-obsessed goofball on Saved by the Bell – was played by late night talk show host and comedian Stephen Colbert instead of actor Dustin Diamond. Colbert says he auditioned for the role of Screech in the 1980s and was rejected for a pretty humorous reason. Watch him tell the story below.Stephen Colbert Saved by the Bell Audition Story
Around the 3:00 mark in this video, The Late Show guest Ryan Reynolds makes a joke about Saved by the Bell, sparking Colbert’s memory about the time he tried out for the role of Screech and didn’t get it.
“I auditioned for Saved by the Bell!” he exclaims. “That was my first professional audition. 1986? [Editor’s note: this must have been when they were auditioning Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which was eventually reworked into the hit show Saved by the Bell.] They came to Chicago. I was a student at Northwestern University, and I don’t know, somebody had seen me do something, somebody had scouted me at school. I got called down to a casting agent on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, I walk in, they hand me the thing, and I was auditioning for the part of – was the character’s name Screech?”
Reynolds bursts into laughter and thinks Colbert is messing with him, but the late night host swears it’s real. “I’m not joking!” he continues. “I auditioned for this part of Screech, and let me tell you how big I was. Imagine how that character ended up in broadcast. I did my audition, and they said to me, ‘There’s a term you’re going to need to know about as a professional. It’s called over the top. You just went over the top. Don’t do that anymore.’ And I saw the subtle interplay of status dynamics that Dustin Diamond brought to that part.”
Saved by the Bell was a massive show for a certain generation, and its actors – Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Mario Lopez, etc. – will always be remembered first and foremost for the characters they played on that show, regardless of whatever else they’ve done in their careers. Imagining Colbert playing the wacky, ineffectual Screech is sorta blowing my mind right now, and needless to say, I think everyone on Earth is glad he didn’t land that role. Except for maybe Dustin Diamond, who may have been better off in life if he didn’t get the job, either. To avoid a depressing rabbit hole, it’s probably best not to look into what became of him after that show went off the air....
Need a quick recap of the past week in movie news? Here are the highlights:
Rick Moranis confirmed for Shrunk: After more than 20 years mostly retired from acting, Rick Moranis will return for a sequel to his 1989 sci-fi comedy hit Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Deadline reports he signed on to reprise his role in Shrunk, which will be helmed by the original's director, Joe Johnston, and will co-star Josh Gad.
Guy Ritchie to direct Aladdin 2: Speaking of Disney sequels, Aladdin 2, which will follow last year's hit live-action reimagining, is officially in the works. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Guy Ritchie will again direct while Will Smith, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott are all expected to reprise their respective roles as the Genie, Aladdin and Jasmine.
Parasite wins Best Picture: The 92nd Academy Awards made history by naming the Korean movie Parasite as Best Picture, the first time a non-English-language feature won the top Oscar. Other big winners included Parasite helmer Bong Joon Ho for Best Director, Joaquin Phoenix for Best Actor for Joker and Renee Zellweger for Best Actress for Judy.
Cynthia Erivo to star in Carrier: Harriet double nominee Cynthia Erivo did not win any Oscars this week, but she remained in the news with the announcement via Deadline that she'll produce and star in a sci-fi thriller called Carrier. The movie will be based on the podcast of the same name, which features Erivo's voice, and she will reprise the character she plays in that audio version.
Margot Robbie to work with David O. Russell: Margot Robbie, who was also nominated for an Oscar this year, is joining the cast of David O. Russell's next movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The still untitled original feature will also star Russell regular Christian Bale plus recently added actor Michael B. Jordan.
Awkwafina to play real life gambler: The Farewell star Awkwafina, who won her own share of awards this past season, is tackling a biopic about notorious gambler Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun, who figured out a way to legally beat the system of a popular casino game. According to The Wrap, the movie is based on an article in Cigar Aficionado and is titled The Baccarat Machine.
Maggie Gyllenhaal to make directorial debut: Oscar-nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal will make her directorial debut with the feature The Lost Daughter, which she also wrote. Variety reports that Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman will star alongside Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson and Gyllenhaal's husband, Peter Sarsgaard. In other news, Variety also reports Gyllenhaal will play Elvis Presley's mother in a Baz Lurhman-helmed musical biopic.
Olivia Wilde to helm gymnast biopic: Olivia Wilde, who last year earned many accolades with...