Aladdin star Mena Massoud recently revealed that he has not gotten one audition since landing the lead role in Disney’s live-action remake earlier this year. Mena spoke with The Daily Beast to express his frustrations, which he admitted to keeping quiet about for quite some time. Despite Aladdin making over $1 billion at the global box office, Mena can’t find any big projects to work on, and his co-star Will Smith has some wise words for the struggling actor.
Will caught up with People this week at the Spies in Disguise premiere and Mena’s issues came up during his discussion with the publication. The longtime actor described the nature of the business that is Hollywood and only had words of encouragement for his former co-star.
“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 be. 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 Bad Boys for Life actor has seen his struggles in the business and has delivered some box office bombs like this year’s Gemini Man. It wasn’t until Aladdin hit theaters this summer that Will had a movie cross the $1 billion mark, something Mena delivered in one of his first roles ever.
Mena noted that he feels like a “wild card” often since he is Middle Eastern, but also admitted he feels like he isn’t getting many auditions because of his age and people only know him for Aladdin. The 28-year-old does have projects in the works right now including Hulu’s Reprisal, which he apparently got the offer for before Aladdin. Mena will appear in 10 episodes alongside Abigail Breslin in the streaming platform original series, but only one season is confirmed at this time.
Disney is also considering a sequel for Aladdin which Mena could nab a role in, but with Disney Plus recently announcing a spinoff for one of the only white characters in the live-action remake earlier this year, it may not happen for him at all. Billy Magnussen appeared in Aladdin for just a few quick moments as Prince Anders but will be getting his own spinoff on the new streaming platform which has left many movie fans shocked online.