Canada’s got their very own Disney Prince and he’s making waves in the Canadian film industry. You might be surprised to find out that Aladdin's new star, Mena Massoud is from Toronto, Canada. We don't always expect big blockbuster actors to be from "The Great North" but Aladdin's new star is just that! The small star turned major film actor is especially well-known on the streets of Toronto and at Ryerson University, where he graduated from their theatre program.
Disney’s new live-action film hits theatres across Canada today and our real-life Aladdin is hoping to use his success from this brand new film to build up the Canadian film industry and get more diverse actors on our screens.
According to IMBD, Massoud was actually born in Egypt and moved to Toronto as a child.
Moussaud actually watched the animated Aladdin movie as a child, so he knew how important this role would be for other children. In a round of interviews, he stated, "'Aladdin' was one of the few things that I watched as a kid where I was like, 'Oh, that guy looks like me and has a similar culture to mine,"'
He told reporters that his main goal is to “celebrate all diverse artists and actors and 'Aladdin' does that really well."
Although diversity in film has increased in the past years, only 19.8% of film leads are people of colour. Aladdin will no doubt be successful enough (I mean come on it’s Disney) to help Massoud with his goals of increasing that percentage. Not only does he want more diversity, but he also he wants more diversity in film right here in his hometown in Canada.
Although his childhood dream was to become an actor, he also hopes to establish his own Toronto-based production company and hire actors for these productions through the Ethnically Diverse Artists Foundation - a company in Toronto that spreads arts throughout the city. This news should make people in or looking to get into the Canadian film industry ecstatic, especially following the exciting announcement Netflix made this year.
After promising to spend 500 million dollars in Canadian-made film followed by opening a production hub in Toronto, it looks like Netflix is really trying to highlight Canada’s artistic talent. Pairing this with successful actors who are looking to invest in diversity within Canadian film, Hollywood North is about to get a major makeover.
From living in his friend's apartment closet to playing a Disney prince to advocating for diversity in Canadian films, it’s a whole new industry and Mena Massoud is flying right in on his magic carpet and making major changes.