Behind The Scenes: Egyptian Actor Mena Massoud’s Road to Becoming Aladdin

An Egyptian name that is on every media platform this month is Mena Massoud.

The Egyptian-Canadian actor scored the role as Aladdin in the much-anticipated Disney readaptation of the animated film, Aladdin, directed by Guy Ritchie; alongside co-stars Will Smith and Naomi Scott.

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Egypt ?? this one’s for you! #Aladdin

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Massoud has been showing love to the Middle East region on daily basis. From asking the musicians on set to play him Abdel Halim Hafez’s songs, dedicating a whole video to Egyptians with a “Tahya Masr” message -translated as long live Egypt- to dedicating the movie to actors of color and celebrating inclusion, and so much more.

The behind-the-scenes footage shared by the cast is magical. For a more authentic feel, the movie was shot in the region in Wadi Rum, Jordan. “You could feel the history in the sand,” Will Smith described the desert experience.

The highly-anticipated movie, Aladdin, finally hit Abdali’s state-of-the-art Prime Cinemas in the center of Amman, Jordan last week. The cast was spotted surprising children at the King Hussein Cancer Center during a private screening.

While Massoud is enjoying every minute of the recently-found fame, it wasn’t always camera flashes and interviews. “Two years ago, I moved to Los Angeles and I was living in a closet with my friend,” Massoud told ET. “I never thought I’d get to do this so quickly after moving here.”

The actor described meeting Will Smith for the first time as surreal and awkward as he expected Ritchie to break the ice, but obviously didn’t.

“We’re on set, and there are 200 dancers standing around, and I’m talking to the director, and then this dude just comes up and he’s standing in our conversation,” Smith told ET about meeting Massoud. “And I’m like, ‘That’s a bold-a** dancer, going to stand there in the middle of the director and the genie in this conversation.’ And he just stood there and he didn’t say nothing! He just smiled and then walked away.”

We’re loving this duo already.

WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss Aladdin’s Cast Surprise Children At King Hussein Cancer Center In Jordan