It “remains to be seen” whether Rami Malek’s Oscar win this year will translate into greater success and opportunities for Arab actors, according to Mena Massoud, the star of Guy Ritchie’s upcoming live-action Aladdin film.
In an interview with Esquire Middle East, Massoud said, “Rami winning [the Oscar for Best Actor] is obviously a very positive thing. But whether it is a high-water mark for Arab actors, or at least actors of Arab ethnicity, remains to be seen with what he does in the next three or four years.
“I haven’t met him and have heard he is a really lovely guy, but I also hear he doesn’t really speak Arabic, so it depends on what direction he goes next,” Massoud added.
Mena Massoud on the cover of this month’s Esquire Middle East.
“Is he going to start telling stories from the Arab world? Moreover, is he going to portray those kinds of roles? Is he going to give back to those communities?”
Looking to the future, Massoud said he believes that only a large-scale box office success – such as Black Panther – will lead to greater roles for Arab actors.
“Black Panther made $1.7 billion. That showed Hollywood that people want to see those types of stories told,” he said. “I want that for the Arab World.”