Well, this answer was neither fresh nor princely.
We picked Mena Massoud was one of our Stars to Watch in 2019 — after all, he’s handsome and charming, and he had nabbed the titular hero role in Disney‘s live action Aladdin remake. He was a no-brainer to have a career-defining moment.
Sadly, things didn’t go that way.
The 28-year-old revealed in an interview with The Daily Beast on Tuesday he had not even gotten “a single audition” since the film’s release, despite the massive success and decent reviews of the Summer blockbuster.
“It’s like, I’m sitting here being like, okay, 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.”
And yes, the Cairo native did acknowledge race could be a factor as the room is often filled with “Caucasian guys”:
“There’s always a wild card or two when you’re casting. I’m usually the wild card. In a room of Caucasian guys, a director might be like, okay, let’s see, like, two guys who aren’t. And maybe they’ll be the wild card choice.”
Luckily, he has something better than a genie in his corner!
His Aladdin costar Will Smith knows what it’s like to be that young wild card, too, and he went on to become one of the biggest movie stars of all time! He should have some great advice for Mena, right?
Um… not exactly.
Speaking with People at the Spies In Disguise premiere on Wednesday evening, he said:
“The thing about this business, that is not unlike life, it’s hard by design. It’s like the universe, God, whatever you believe, designed it to be hard. So, if you’re having a hard time it’s because you’re supposed to.”
“That difficulty is overcome by patience, commitment, dedication, endurance — so if you have a dream, you desperately have to be willing to work on it every single hour of the day with your deepest love and focus.”
“You can not get around having a hard time.”
Well. Um. Thanks?
Yeah, that was a lot of words for “s**t happens.”
Seriously, that speech was just a bunch of father-knows-best nuggets refracted through some kind of new age prism, like if Danny Tanner and Tony Robbins had a baby (a show we would def watch btw).
However, it didn’t do anything to A) commiserate with a fellow human you just worked with who is going through a tough time or B) offer any actual advice to a young actor of color from a seasoned vet.
Sorry, we love Will Smith, but what an infuriating answer!
What do YOU think of
[Image via Disney/YouTube.]