After news broke that Disney was reportedly struggling to find a lead for their live-action reboot of Aladdin, everyone (including POPSUGAR!) was happy to bombard the studio with suggestions of potential actors to play the beloved street urchin. On Saturday all speculation came to a halt when Disney announced the final casting news at their D23 Expo. While well-known actors like Dev Patel and Riz Ahmed were initially in talks to play Aladdin, newcomer Mena Massoud ended up scoring the part.
The Egyptian-born Canadian actor (who is extremely easy on the eyes, we should note) has had a steady, but low-key career thus far, appearing in a number of TV shows. In 2015 he was in 12 episodes of the Canadian drama Open Heart (pictured below), as Jared Malik, the snarky head of the youth volunteer program at Open Heart Memorial Hospital.
Additionally, he’s done voice work in animated programs like The 99, and had small roles in The CW’s Nikita, CTV’s Saving Hope, and ABC’s Combat Hospital. Most recently Massoud signed on to play Tarek Kassar in Amazon’s TV adaptation of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series alongside John Krasinski. The action-heavy show is set to premiere at some point in 2017, so we’ll be able to see Massoud do his thing on the small screen before Aladdin comes out (likely in 2019!).