You'd think that once you've had the chance to star as Aladdin in a Disney live-action remake, it would be a career launcher for blockbuster films, moving forward. Apparently, that's not the case for Mena Massoud who recently came out in an interview lamenting the lack of audition invitations he has received since the release of the Disney movie. It truly is a head-scratcher. Regardless, in situations like this, friends and fellow costars can really help navigate the murky waters, especially in places that are hard to make it, like Hollywood. Unfortunately, Massoud is not getting any valuable advice.
The Words of Will Smith
Will Smith recently spoke to People Magazine and commented on Massoud's statement of the lack of audition invitations, and suffice it to say, it wasn't helping anyone. Smith shared, "The thing about this business, that is not unlike life, it’s hard by design. It’s like the universe, God, whatever you believe, designed it to be hard. So, if you’re having a hard time it’s because you’re supposed to."
And what was Massoud supposed to take from that? Smith continued, "That difficulty is overcome by patience, commitment, dedication, endurance — so if you have a dream, you desperately have to be willing to work on it every single hour of the day with your deepest love and focus. You can not get around having a hard time."
The True Issue at Hand
While it's not hard to understand what Smith is trying to say, it definitely doesn't have any direct applicability to Massoud's predicament. It's almost like the advice that Smith is giving to Massoud is a father to son conversation that simply covers the vague generalities of life. To Massoud, the issue seems to be that he was cast for the role of Aladdin because he's Egyptian, aligning with the Middle East narrative of the film. In an interview with The Daily Beast, he voiced his frustrations with the overall audition process.
'There’s always a wild card or two when you’re casting'
In his interview with The Daily Beast, Massoud shared that he was frustrated with how the audition process is handled and the associated demographics of the invitees. He shared, "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? Like, can you just give me a chance? So it’s not always what you think." Massoud believes that the process is dominated by Caucasian actors and was further reiterated by the statement, "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, okay, let’s see, like, two guys who aren’t. And maybe they’ll be the wild card choice."
The Times Are a Changin'
It would have been nice to get some sound advice from his costar, Will Smith, but that simply didn't happen. It's not a surprise that breaking into Hollywood is exponentially difficult, but Massoud is on the right path and already has a 1 billion dollar blockbuster under his belt. Yes, he's not Caucasian, but times are changing and there might not be a better time to land non-traditional roles as a minority. Last time we checked, Idris Elba is being seriously considered for the role of the next James Bond movie, as are women. Massoud should get another big role and this whole matter will be soon forgotten.