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Will Smith cheers on ‘Aladdin’ costar Mena Massoud during audition slump

“Aladdin” Los Angeles Press Conference
“Aladdin” star Mena Massoud, left, and Will Smith.
(Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney)

All of Mena Massoud’s wishes weren’t granted with “Aladdin,” even after his blockbuster Disney film crossed the billion-dollar mark at the box office. But his genie and costar Will Smith isn’t fretting about his prospects.

Earlier this week, the Egyptian-Canadian star, who played the title role in the live-action film, revealed that he hadn’t been on a single audition since it was released in May.

However, Massoud’s claim came as news to Smith, who was informed of his former costar’s frustrations during the red-carpet premiere of his new film “Spies in Disguise” on Thursday.

“He is a spectacular actor, and he has nothing to worry about,” Smith said to Variety.

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Naomi Scott as Jasmine, left, and Mena Massoud as Aladdin in the Disney film.
Naomi Scott as Jasmine, left, and Mena Massoud as Aladdin in the live-action Disney film.
(Daniel Smith / Disney Enterprises)

Massoud, 28, elaborated on his Hollywood hardship this week as he promoted his Hulu series “Reprisal,” a gig he clinched before Guy Ritchie’s Disney film came out.

“I’m kind of tired of staying quiet about it,” Massoud told the Daily Beast. “I want people to know that it’s not always dandelions and roses when you’re doing something like ‘Aladdin.’ ‘He must have made millions. He must be getting all these offers.’ It’s none of those things. I haven’t had a single audition since ‘Aladdin’ came out.”

The actor was deeply grateful for taking part in “Aladdin,” a role he was hand-picked for out of 2,000 actors, nor was he complaining. The film, though initially panned and critically underwhelming, was praised for its diverse representation and for bolstering Princess Jasmine’s role.

Growing up in England, Naomi Scott, like so many other young girls, fell in love at an early age with Disney’s animated heroines — particularly Mulan, Pocahontas and Jasmine from “Aladdin.”

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“It’s wild to a lot of people,” he added. “People have these ideas in their head. It’s like, I’m sitting here being like, OK, ‘Aladdin’ just hit $1 billion. Can I at least get an audition? Like, I’m not expecting you to be, like, here’s Batman. But can I just get in the room? Like, can you just give me a chance? So it’s not always what you think.”

Massoud’s other credits include Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” series and the indie film “Run This Town.” He’s set to next appear in the animated fantasy film “Lamya’s Poem.”

But with the genie back in his corner, maybe he’ll have a few more audition wishes granted.


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