Aladdin Has Found Its Aladdin, So Please Stop Contacting Me

Mena Massoud

Disney announced the cast for the live-action Aladdin remake at the D23 Expo last night.

After months of search and over 2000 auditions for the lead roles in South Asian countries, Guy Ritchie went with (essentially) non-Arab actors for his upcoming film.

Aladdin is Mena Massoud, a name you're likely unaware of but will be hearing a lot once the Disney marketing train starts up.

British actress Naomi Scott has been cast to play Jasmine. After releasing a couple EPs and contributing to the soundtrack for a movie-musical, Lemonade Mouth, she slowed her music career while her screen work only accelerated.

Insisting she is "over it", the singer, 24, appeared to make reference to missing out on the opportunity to play the Disney princess.

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After taking the long and winding road, Walt Disney Studios has finally found the lead actor for the live-action Aladdin remake. "Finding a male lead in his 20s who can act and sing has proven hard", the Hollywood Reporter wrote last week, "especially since the studio wants someone of Middle-Eastern or Indian descent".

Born to Egyptian parents and raised in Canada, Massoud is a relative newcomer to the American scene, yet he has already kicked off his career in the Canadian cinema and television market.

Scott's mother Usha Scott is from Uganda and is of Gujarati Indian descent. The movie will draw inspiration from the 1992 animated film.

To be clear, Aladdin-the story of a rough-and-tumble kid from the streets who enlists a genie to win the love of Princess Jasmine-is set in fictional Agrabah, but it's largely seen as representing a Middle Eastern city.

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