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From Agrabah to Cairo: 'Aladdin' actor Mena Massoud to star in his first Egyptian film

The Canadian-Egyptian actor is expected to arrive in Egypt this month to begin work in the film

 Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud​ will star in his first Egyptian film. Instagram / menamassoud
 Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud​ will star in his first Egyptian film. Instagram / menamassoud

Mena Massoud has signed up to star in his first Arabic film.

The Canadian-Egyptian actor and star of the 2019 live action Aladdin remake will reportedly return to Cairo this month to begin work on the film Fe Ez el Dohr.

Massoud is expected to be in the city as early as next week to begin pre-production work, which includes meeting the cast and crew and checking out the locations, according to reports.

In an interview with Egyptian paper Youm7, Massoud's manager George Shehata said the move came at the end of a three month negotiation process, including discussions with director Morcous Adel. Shehata said Massoud was looking for the right role to make his Egyptian film debut.

According to the online show ET Bil Arabi, the Arabic version of US showbiz program show, Entertainment Tonight, Massoud also chose the film for its international flavour.

While information about the plot is scarce, production sources told Et Bil Arabi that Fe Ez el Dohr will boast international locations.

Massoud’s return to Egypt fulfils a promise he made to Arab fans when Aladdin made him an international star.

In 2019, he spoke to the The National about his desire to work on regional film projects and hoped the success of Aladdin, which was shot in Jordan, would result in more authentic films about the Arab world.

“It has been a while since we've told stories like Lawrence of Arabia and cast them and told them appropriately. So I hope people look at Aladdin and realise that there's a plethora of rich stories that come out of the Middle East,” he said.

“That is certainly something that I'm going to be focusing on in my career with my production company. I think that [things] are going to change.”

Speaking to the regional press on the eve Aladdin’s regional premiere in Jordanian in May, 2019, Massoud spoke of his hope in following the footsteps of fellow Egyptian and Oscar winner Rami Malek in blazing a path forward for Arab actors in Hollywood.

"I think things are changing with Rami Malek winning an Oscar for doing an incredible job as Freddie Mercury. There are a lot of Middle Eastern actors coming up," he said.

"I think [Aladdin] is important for representation. Hopefully, if it does well in cinema, Hollywood can have confidence in the fact that you can put a Middle Eastern in a lead role or in an iconic role and it will still do well."

Published: January 2, 2021 12:58 PM

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