Mena Massoud, an actor with Egyptian roots, received much attention after taking on the role of Aladdin in the live-action adaptation. But it seems as though the fame did him no good.
Massoud recently admitted that he hasn't had a single audition since starring in the Disney remake, in which he beat out 2,000 actors who were auditioning for the role. The film crossed the billion-dollar mark at the box office but the film's success didn't get the ball rolling for him.
"I want people to know that it's not always dandelions and roses when you're doing something like Aladdin," the 28-year-old actor said in an interview with The Daily Beast.
"'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 added.
The fact that he's received no job offers since Aladdin made it to the big screen has surprised many people. Massoud wants people to know that it really isn't as easy as one thinks.
"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," he said.
Massoud was born in Egypt to Coptic parents but was raised in Canada. Before snagging the lead role in Disney's live-action adaptation, he starred in several films including Jack Ryan (2017), Open Heart (2015), and Saving Hope (2012). Four other movies in which he stars will reportedly be released at the end of this year, including American noir-thriller Strange But True and Canadian-American drama Run This Town. The actor is also starring in the Hulu TV series Reprisal, a role he secured before Aladdin was released.
The fact that he is Egyptian makes him a "wild card," he said.
"There's always a wild card or two when you're casting. I'm usually the wild card. In a room of Caucasian guys, a director might be like, OK, let's see, like, two guys who aren't. And maybe they'll be the wild card choice."
Many online users are disappointed to hear the news, especially after seeing his performance in Aladdin, saying he deserves to be featured in other films.
However, others understand why he hasn't gotten any auditions following his "poor performance" in the Disney remake. Some went as far as saying the adaptation's success had nothing to do with Massoud.
"He isn't why the film made a billion dollars, that's why. It was because it's a Disney remake of a beloved classic. And it [sic] his performance in it was bad," one Twitter user wrote.
"This guy is a mediocre actor at best. Like, don't know why he thinks he's so entitled," another tweeted.
It's not just Massoud's acting skills that have been criticized. He stirred controversy back in May after social media users brought to light a video shared on the actor's blog, Evolving Vegan, in which he reviewed an Israeli restaurant called AVIV in Portland, Oregon.
Many Arab users called out Massoud for promoting a restaurant that claims Arab food as Israeli and for generally supporting the Israeli business, all the while Israel continues to oppress the Palestinians and commit cultural theft. In response, Massoud tweeted that having grown up in Toronto, he has always visited Israeli restaurants offering Middle Eastern food, claiming he doesn't "really understand the politics of it."