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Disney casts Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud to play Aladdin

Published: Updated:

After months-long search and in different locations for cast hunting worldwide including the UAE, Egypt and India, Disney has confirmed that Egyptian-born, Canada-raised Mena Massoud will play the lead role in the live-action reboot of the classic animated film Aladdin.

Will Smith, 48, who had already been named as taking on the role of the Genie, has now been confirmed along with Naomi Scott, 24, who will portray Princess Jasmine.

The casting was announced at Disney's D23 Expo in California on Saturday.

Aladdin’s production initially was scheduled to begin by July but the search for a male lead of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent in his 20s, who can act and sing, proved to be futile.