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Egyptian-Canadian Mena Massoud will be Disney’s next Aladdin

Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott
DAMMAM: Disney has found its Aladdin and Jasmine.
Disney production President Sean Bailey said Saturday that Egyptian-Canadian newcomer Mena Massoud will star as the scrappy Aladdin, and “Power Rangers’” Naomi Scott will play Jasmine in the live-action adaptation.
Will Smith has already been cast as the Genie.
The film will be directed by Guy Ritchie.
“So honored & grateful for the opportunity to help bring this magical story to life once again. Let’s get to work! #Aladdin #Disney,” Massoud tweeted.
It was recently reported that the studio was having problems casting the lead character. They were looking for a man in his twenties who can sing and act and preferred someone of Middle Eastern or Indian descent.
Social media as usual had varied reactions to the news. While some were delighted at the prospect of seeing a Middle Eastern Aladdin on screen, others were not so happy with the casting of British-Indian actress Scott as Jasmine.
@xoabbya wrote on Twitter: “Nothing against Naomi, but this was finally an opportunity for Arab women to get representation and #Aladdin casting put it to shame.”
@tayyy_renne said: “Would Disney cast a black Cinderella? Nope. So why y’all casting a 1/2 Indian to play an Arabian princess? #Aladdin”
@SadPali tweeted: “I wish Arabs were as mad at mistreatment/slavery of migrant workers, racism, sexism as they are at casting of the live-action Aladdin film.”
Most others were excited about the casting of newcomer Massoud as Aladdin.
“I don’t know who he is but he’s Arab so I’m happy they cast him as Aladdin. AN UNKNOWN IS WHAT I BEEN BEGGING FOR,” @WokeMutant wrote on Twitter.
Massoud has also played Jared Malik in the TV series “Open Heart” and will play Tarek Kassar in the TV series “Jack Ryan.”
Aladdin is based on the well-known Arabic folk tale about a young man who receives three wishes from a genie.