Guy Ritchie’s live-action remake of Disney’s Aladdin was one of the most successful movies of 2019, scoring over $1 billion in box office dollars over that summer. It introduced audiences to the perfect embodiment of the iconic animated Prince Al, played by Mena Massoud, but the major role didn’t necessarily do a ton for the actor’s career. Over a year after the film’s release, the Egyptian-Canadian actor admitted that he hadn’t gotten a single audition since starring in the big-budget blockbuster.
Since starring in the titular role of Aladdin, Mena Massoud has not broken much ground in Hollywood. He had a small role in the 2019 thriller Strange But True, starred in the since-cancelled Hulu show Reprisal and guest-starred in an episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star. It’s underwhelming for the actor behind playing one of the famed Disney characters of all time. Over a year made his struggle known, he has finally landed a leading role in a Netflix movie with The War With Grandpa’s Laura Marano.
The 29-year-old actor will star in The Royal Treatment, a Netflix romantic comedy about a prince and a salon owner. Laura Marano will play Izzy, who gets the opportunity of a lifetime to do the styling for the wedding of Prince Thomas (Massoud), who is marrying out of obligation instead of for love. Mena Massoud must have made a royal impression on Netflix casting directors.
The Royal Treatment will be directed by Ash vs. Evil Dead guest director Rick Jacobson from a script written by sitcom writer Holly Hester. It sounds like a fun Netflix rom-com to remind us of Mena Massoud’s charm and perhaps get the actor back into the game after a rough couple of years. Back in 2019, Massoud said this about his post-Aladdin career:
I’m kind of tired of staying quiet about it. 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… It’s wild to a lot of people. 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?
The issue could have something to do with Hollywood’s struggle to cast actors from other ethnicities, such as Mena Massoud’s Egyptian roots, in major roles. There just aren't very many movies and roles being created for Middle Eastern talent, unless the project is specifically about the culture.
Mena Massoud is set to reprise his role as Aladdin in a sequel Disney previously announced. Even in terms of Disney expanding the world established by Aladdin, the studio previously announced it was developing a TV show centering around Billy Magnussen’s Prince Anders – the only white character in the Middle Eastern-driven storyline derived from the Arabian Nights. It’s a shame Massoud hasn’t broken out since 2019’s Aladdin, but we’re excited to see what he does in The Royal Treatment.