Disney Star, Mena Massoud, Talks Hollywood Movies, Producing, and His Amazing Holidays on Mykonos.
Exclusive interview with the Egyptian-born Canadian actor known for starring as the titular character in the Disney fantasy film Aladdin.
Meet the actor who starred in Disney’s Aladdin and traveled to Greece for his 30th birthday choosing to stay at the Myconian Villa Collection.
Not only an actor but an author too of the book Evolving Vegan, Mena Massoud was born in Cairo, Egypt, to Egyptian Coptic Othodox Christian parents. He and his family emigrated to Canada at the age of three. He grew up in Markham, Ontario and he began acting in 2011, with guest appearances on television series. In 2019, Massoud portrayed the titular character in Disney’s fantasy-adventure film Aladdin. For his performance, he received a Teen Choice Award nomination, and two National Film & TV Award nominations. In January 2021, Massoud was announced to play the male lead in Netflix‘s feature film, The Royal Treatment. During his stay at the Villa Collection of the Myconian Collection Hotels & Resorts he talked exclusively to the Myconian Collection Magazine sharing his next plans and dreams.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Focused. Devoted. Grounded. Sometimes too much.
What is the best part of being an actor in Hollywood?
The best part of being an actor anywhere, Hollywood or the international markets, is that I get to play make believe for work. Acting to be honest, is the fun part, but there’s a lot of other aspects that come with being an actor. Press, critique, lack of privacy, and so on.
When Aladdin premiered, you tweeted, “Egypt this one’s for you!” featuring a video speaking in Arabic. Do you keep up with your Egyptian roots?
One hundred percent. I’m currently filming an Egyptian film in Cairo. It’s always been an aspiration of mine to return home, where I was born, and do what I love: act. It’s not easy by any means but I think it’s important for me to try and bring the spotlight on Egypt’s robust film industry.
The entertainment industry is mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausting. It tests you in a completely different kind of way that is so deep, it’s hard to comprehend unless you’re an artist.
You studied neuroscience at the University of Toronto, before deciding to follow your passion and transfer to Ryerson University’s theater performance program. What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
Neuroscience was academically difficult. The entertainment industry is a whole different kind of difficult. It’s mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausting. It tests you in a completely different kind of way that is so deep, it’s hard to comprehend unless you’re an artist. The greatest lesson I’ve learned is don’t get caught up in the ‘show’ of it all. The red carpets, the press, the glitz and glam. At the end of the day, you must keep focused on your passion for the artform, otherwise you’ll create a path much more difficult for yourself.
What’s next for Mena Massoud in 2022?
This next year in 2022 I’ll really be focusing on my production company, Press Play Productions. We are committed to creating opportunities for underrepresented voices and are on our way to producing some incredible stories from the MENA region (Middle East North Africa). I also have my Netflix film, ‘The Royal Treatment’ coming out and my Egyptian, Arabic-language film, ‘In Broad Daylight’.
The Myconian Villas and Resorts were a dream. The pool and view on our balcony were my favorite place to relax in all of Greece.
How much does an actor’s social media presence play into casting?
I’m not really sure to be honest. When I booked ‘Aladdin’ I had almost no followers on social media. That’s something casting directors and producers can answer better than I can.
What was it like to work with director Guy Ritchie in the Disney live-action remake of “Aladdin”?
Guy Ritchie has incredible vision and a ton of experience. He’s easy-going, quirky and has a very unique perspective on things and I think that’s what makes him such a special director. As we began to trust each other on ‘Aladdin’, I think we both started having so much fun and creating really great work.
Who would be your dream director to work with?
Any director who loves the process of acting and actors is a director I want to work with. Some directors really love visual effects. Some really love set design and style. Some really love telling stories through action. Every director is different.
What are your upcoming projects?
I have a few projects lining up under my production company, Press Play Productions that I’m really excited about. There’s also ‘The Royal Treatment’ on Netflix and my Arabic-language film ‘In Broad Daylight’.
What was your favourite spot on Mykonos to relax, get inspired and recharge?
The Myconian Villas and Resorts were a dream. The pool and view on our balcony were my favorite place to relax in all of Greece. I’m not just saying that because I’m being interviewed by the magazine. It truly was the most relaxing part of the trip.
The Myconian Collection comes from Greek Culture. You can tell from the moment you step onto the property.
Did the setting of the Myconian Collection Hotels & Resorts offer you a unique experience?
Absolutely. First off, the service was fantastic. Manager, George, was incredibly hospitable along with the rest of the staff, and the hotel itself imbues Greek culture. A lot of the time hotels in other countries are simply there to offer a service but they’re not engrained into the culture. The Myconian Collection comes from Greek Culture. You can tell from the moment you step onto the property.
What did you enjoy the most spending time at the Myconian Collection?
The suite was a dream, and as a private person, I loved spending time in my own oasis, but the beach was also gorgeous and relaxing.
Is Mykonos the first Greek island you’d recommend to a Hollywood colleague?
I don’t know. Unfortunately, I haven’t spent time on all of the beautiful and unique islands of Greece to recommend just one island. But what I would say, is that if you have a chance to stay at the Myconian, it’ll be the best decision you can make in Greece.
Are you tempted to return again at the Myconian Collection peopleand properties?
Absolutely. It is my hope that I will get a chance to return once again and that more properties under the Myconian Collection open worldwide. There’s nowhere else I would stay.
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