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Mena Massoud: “With ‘Aladdin’ I saw as a child a reflection of me on the screen”

 Los Angeles, .- The magical, colorful and adventurous universe of “Aladdin” returns to the cinema thanks to a new version of Disney classic with real actors and headed by the Egyptian Mena Massoud, who highlighted to Efe the value of diversity in the movies so that they can excite all kinds of audiences.

“When I saw her (the original film) as a very young child, the most important thing was that it was like a reflection of me on the screen.” There were not many animated or other films with which I could identify myself, with characters that resembled each other. to me, to remind me of myself or my culture, “he explained in a telephone interview.

“I think that was the biggest impact,” he commented on the 1992 film that was installed in the pantheon of the masterpieces of animation thanks to such charismatic characters as the Genius and a soundtrack to remember.

Born in Egypt but raised in Canada, Massoud faces the opportunity of his life with “Aladdin”, a “remake” that arrives on Friday at the cinemas under the direction of director Guy Ritchie (“Snatch”, 2000, “Sherlock Holmes”, 2009) and with the participation of other actors such as Naomi Scott or Will Smith.

With Disney engaged in reinterpreting his most emblematic tapes with new technologies or real action, a move with which he triumphed in “The Jungle Book” (2016) and “Beauty and The Beast” (2017), but with which he skated in the recent “Dumbo” (2019), this approach to “Aladdin” preserves, according to Massoud, the “iconic” essence of the original film.

“Falling in love, trying to find out who you are as a young person … All that was very relevant to me,” he explained.
Virtually unknown to the general public until now, Massoud said that from a young age he always wanted to “entertain and make people laugh” with theater and music at school.

“I acted as a hobby all my life, but coming from Egypt and with my parents being immigrants they did not want me to have problems as an artist, they did not want me to pursue a professional career as an actor,” he said.

But after a brief stint at the university in Toronto, Massoud returned to his true passion, moved to Los Angeles and has spent eight years performing as a professional actor.

Hence, valuing all that it cost a descendant of Egyptians to make their way into interpretation, consider “incredibly important” that a person from the Middle East star in this great Disney project.

“When I started in this industry in 2011, my first role was in a series called ‘Nikita’ and it was ‘Al Qaeda number two.’ That really was a symbol of the kind of roles that there were for people who looked like me,” argument.

“I got auditions for incredible characters, but they never chose anyone like me for those roles, so to get to the end where there is no race, I think it’s a very positive thing. see this movie and support it, this shows the studios that with actors like Naomi or me, a movie can go well and can succeed, “he added.

On the other hand, Massoud highlighted the complexity of a role as Aladdin for which he required a lot of physical training but also preparation on how to dance and sing at the highest level.

“Guy Ritchie and I got together a lot and we talked about Aladdin’s journey and its different rhythms: there are scenes that are funny, there are scenes that are moving, we just took our time and really prepared for it,” he said.

And although the film itself is a huge gift for a young actor like him, Massoud underlined the dream and luxury that was also share scenes with Will Smith, an ideal interpreter for the crazy and irresistible Genius.

“I grew up watching Will, in an Egyptian home like mine, we had a lot of Arab television, but not a huge rotation of American actors, but Will was one of them. He was always an inspiration to me because of his variety: he made dramas, comedies, television, movies … very different things and always very, very well, “he explained.

Finally, Massoud also remembered with great affection of his companion Naomi Scott, the one in charge of giving life to the princess Jasmine.

“We get along very quickly, very well, I think we follow similar trajectories in our careers, we both have parents who are immigrants (…) We just have many things in common and she is a good friend of mine,” she said.

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