Mena Massoud has been having a great summer. As the star of Aladdin, he’s been seen by more moviegoers this summer than he has in eight years of film and television roles. Aladdin has already made over $300 million in the U.S. and is approaching $1 billion worldwide, and it’s still in theaters.
Massoud isn’t slowing down, and he was on a panel for his upcoming Hulu series Reprisal today. You’ll have to wait until December 6 to see Massoud on Reprisal, but here’s what Massoud said you can expect from him on the show.
Mena Massoud plays an edgier character on ‘Reprisal’
Hulu describes reprisal as “a hyper-noir story that follows a relentless femme fatale (Abigail Spencer) who, after being left for dead, sets out to take revenge against her brother and his bombastic gang of gearheads.” Massoud plays one of the gang members.
“It was important to me to do something different,” Massoud said. “For most people, Aladdin would be the first time they ever saw me and instantly they would say, ‘He sings and dances and that’s all he can do.’ I wanted to do something different and this character really struck something within me. I really wanted to show a different side of my performance and who I am as an actor.”
Mena Massoud plays a bad guy on ‘Reprisal,’ or does he?
Doris Dearie (Spencer) is coming after Massoud’s character, Ethan Hart, and the rest of the gang. They may seem like the villains at first, but Massoud said Reprisal is more complicated than that.
“I think every human being in the world has a little bit of good and evil,” Massoud said. “A lot of times people we refer to as evil, they don’t see themselves that way. That’s why they’re able to do what they do. That’s something I’m excited about on the show. I think everybody has a different definition of that.”
It’s true, nobody believes they’re the villain. Massoud hopes audiences will give his character the benefit of the doubt too.
“We go on those journeys,” Massoud said. “As you watch the show, your opinion of who is good and evil might change as well. The audience will go on a journey and that’s exciting.”
Mena Massoud wanted to be part of another diverse cast
Aladdin was groundbreaking for a studio movie, casting so many Indian actors in a big-budget mainstream movie. Reprisal is full of people of color and it’s led by a woman.
“The other thing I always look for in projects is diversity and representation,” Massoud said. “Me and Rodrigo [Santoro] represent a certain minority group. Abigail does as well. I think people will enjoy the representation of diversity on this show. I still turn on my TV a lot and am still amazed how one tone it is. This show definitely breaks that “
Mena Massoud is not waiting tables anymore
Having a success like Aladdin and an upcoming streaming series has certainly changed things for Mena Massoud. Even though he’s been acting in film and television since 2011, his life was quite different only a few years ago.
“It’s always a blessing when you’re working first and foremost,” Massoud said. “Three years ago I was waiting at a restaurant in Toronto. To be here today with these lovely people is amazing.”